Discord in Europe Pushes Back Vote on Refugee Resettlement Proposal

Migrants walk as they cross the border from Hungary into Austria. (Leonhard Foeger/Reuters)
Migrants walk as they cross the border from Hungary into Austria. (Leonhard Foeger/Reuters)

European diplomats pushed back efforts Friday to begin a proposed refugee resettlement program across the continent, putting off a vote until at least next month amid internal disputes over how to deal with the crush of desperate asylum seekers.

Advocates of the plan had hoped the European Union would find common ground on Monday over a formula to place up to 160,000 refugees among 22 countries. But the delay underscores the deep divides among European officials facing unprecedented waves of people fleeing conflict in Syria and elsewhere.

Countries in Central Europe have rejected the plan outright — and foreign ministers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary met Friday to generate alternatives. Denmark has also said it will reject the proposal.

Even some supporting the quota plan — unveiled earlier this week by Jean-Claude Hunker, president of the European Commission — worried that it did not go far enough to address the humanitarian crisis.

A European Union diplomat, quoted by the Associated Press, said a vote on the plan was now expected Oct. 8 at a meeting in Luxembourg. The diplomats requested anonymity because they are not permitted to speak publicly about the debate.

The diplomatic discord comes as authorities impose stopgap security measures along the main refu­gee routes — from Greece through the Balkans and into Central Europe. Most seek haven in countries with generous refu­gee policies such as Germany and Sweden.

Austrian Railways suspended service from Hungary to Vienna because of overcrowding. Without the trains, migrants opted to walk. Some pushed through police cordons along the border, police spokesman Gerhard Koller told the AP.

Some 3,600 migrants crossed into Austria on Friday morning alone, authorities told the Reuters news agency. They were expecting nearly 8,000 — the same number as Thursday — to cross the border by nightfall. Austrian authorities used 30 buses to shuttle people back and forth.

In Hungary, the U.N. refugee agency planned to send pre-fabricated housing units for 300 families as temporary overnight shelter for refugees. The agency also plans to ship emergency supplies for 95,000 people to the region, said William Spindler, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

A regional governor in Greece told television stations that 20,000 migrants had been processed on the island of Lesbos — one of the first European footholds for refugees making the short sea crossing from Turkey.

Click here to continue reading…

SOURCE: Robert Samuels
The Washington Post

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s