New migrant strategy in European Union
At the summit, EU leaders agreed that refugees already in camps within the European Union will be able to choose to be relocated, while host nations will join the scheme voluntarily.
Migrant processing centres are to be set up outside of the European Union’s borders for people rescued from boats on the Mediterranean Sea, the bloc’s leaders said after marathon negotiations in Brussels that lasted into the early hours of Friday morning.
Checkpoints within the bloc are also to be set up, with an aim of separating illegal economic migrants – who will subsequently be returned to their countries of origin – from people who are eligible for refugee status and who will be allowed to settle in the European Union.
The agreements are in line with what Poland has been demanding since the conservative Law and Justice party swept to power in late 2015.
Poland and its partners in the Visegrad Group – Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia – were strong opponents of the bloc’s previous scheme under which each country was to accept a set quota of migrants.
Of the bloc’s 28 members, only two fulfilled their obligations under the previous scheme, while Poland and Hungary failed to accept a single migrant.
According to the Council of the European Union, some 6,000 people drowned during the migration crisis of 2015, while 377,000 people were rescued.
More than two million people arrived in the European Union since the start of the crisis.