BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker will next week propose an expanded scheme to relocate asylum-seekers around the bloc from Hungary as well as from Greece and Italy according to national quotas, senior EU officials confirmed on Friday.
A European Commission spokeswoman said Juncker had proposed to his fellow commissioners to increase the number that might be relocated by 120,000 to a total of 160,000. She told reporters such proposals would be part of a package of measures to be presented to the European Parliament on Wednesday.
European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans told reporters in remarks broadcast from the Greek island of Kos: ”President Juncker will announce an enhanced proposal for relocation next week, especially for the three most effected countries, Greece, Italy and Hungary.
“There again, we will propose to member states to make sure that we have a distribution key, so that European solidarity is put into practice, to make sure the people who arrive in Europe are spread in the member states. The Commission will insist on that. I am confident we can achieve results with that.”
In June, national governments rejected a proposal by Juncker that they take in 40,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece according to binding national quotas, a “distribution key” in Brussels jargon. EU officials had said on Thursday that Juncker was now considering proposing a similar system, expanded to 160,000, that also took people from Hungary.
Reporting by Alastair Macdonald and Alexander Saeedy; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Philip Blenkinsop