European Union ministers voted overwhelmingly in favor Tuesday of a plan to redistribute migrants and asylum-seekers currently crowding reception centers in Italy, Greece, and Hungary. The plan, which would move 15,600 migrants out of Italy, 50,400 out of Greece, and 54,000 out of Hungary, has been on the table since earlier this month.
But a number of member states, particularly from Eastern Europe, have refused the quota plan, saying it unfairly places the burden of asylum-seekers on countries that were not prepared to take them.
On Tuesday, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia voted against the deal. Finland was the only country to abstain. The plan will still need to be ratified Wednesday when EU leaders meet in Brussels.
The United Nations says more than 480,000 have arrived in Europe by sea this year, with more than 260,000 making their way to Greece alone. The quota system will redistribute migrants and asylum-seekers living in dismal conditions at overcrowded reception centers in the three countries most overwhelmed by arrivals.
The quotas were determined largely by the size of a country’s population and its GDP. Also taken into account were a country’s unemployment rate and its number of spontaneous asylum applications and resettled refugees per 1 million inhabitants in the last five years. Under the EU’s new plan, 60 percent of asylum-seekers will be moved to just three countries: Germany, France, and Spain.
The plan does not account for the migrants who will continue to flood into Europe this fall. In just two weeks since the plan was first introduced, thousands more have braved the dangerous trek across the Mediterranean. Germany, for example, expects to receive at least 1 million applications for asylum this year, but will only accept an additional 31,443 under Tuesday’s emergency plan.
“These occasions may be the last opportunity for a positive, united, and coherent European response to this crisis,” Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, said in Geneva last week. “Time is running out.”
This weekend, the United States agreed to increase the number of refugees it accepts over the course of the next year, with Washington announcing it will take 75,000 in 2016 and another 100,000 by the end of 2017. In Europe, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Denmark all have the ability to opt out of the quota plan. It was not immediately clear how many each country would take in the event they choose to accept refugees.
The numbers included in the map below reflect the plan released by the European Commission earlier this month. Click on a country to learn more about its recent history with migrants and asylum seekers, and how many refugees it will need to take under the redistribution plan.
C.K. Hickey contributed to this report.