(ANSA) - Brussels, September 22 - EU ambassadors have proposed relocating all 120,000 migrants slated for resettlement from just Italy and Greece with the possibility of changes if other countries should need them, EU sources said Tuesday ahead of an interior ministers' meeting. The total would include 54,000 Hungary has refused. The ministers are set to meet on mandatory migrant quotas that eastern European countries have so far refused.
United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said Tuesday that the European Union's plans to redistribute asylum seekers among member States was not enough to address the current refugee crisis on its own. The agency added that Wednesday's meeting of EU leaders in Brussels could be the last opportunity to provide a "coherent response". It said that 477,906 people have arrived in Europe via sea so far this year, an average of 6,000 a day. UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said that, as a result, "large-scale investments" are necessary.
The OECD said in a report Tuesday that Europe will probably record more than one million asylum applications in 2015. "The human cost of this refugee crisis is appalling and countries need to quickly agree a fair allocation of refugees within Europe, and ensure that such vast numbers of troubled people receive shelter, food and support," said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria.
Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Tuesday the migrant and refugee crisis facing Europe should be seen not as a "daily emergency" but as a "medium to long-term phenomenon" that should be managed "without spreading fear or illusion". "There are neither barbarians nor plague spreaders at the gates, nor oil platforms for building prison camps for migrants," Gentiloni said. "We need to make public opinion used to thinking that this is not an emergency but a medium- to long-term phenomenon," he continued. "If we experience it as a daily emergency it will be very difficult to move forward." Gentiloni also criticised EU member state Hungary for its anti-migrant stance. "Hungary's behaviour towards the migrants is terrifying," the minister said.
"It is almost a slap in the face to those of us who believed in the enlargement of the European Union." "The political response is not to cancel but to manage the phenomenon," Gentiloni said, adding that this required a rethinking of the Dublin regulation on asylum under which it is the country of first arrival that must handle requests. "The rules need to be made more flexible, they are to be defended but without destroying Schengen," the minister continued.
Schengen is Europe's borderless area comprising 22 EU member states including Italy and all four European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states. Gentiloni also said the speed of decision-making by EU institutions was "insufficient" with respect to the flow of migrants and the tensions that this is provoking among the various countries. "Things must be speeded up to prevent the defence of the Dublin rules from jeopardising the fundamental principle of the free circulation of people," he added. "The risks for Europe are for everyone to see. There is tension on the borders of numerous countries, there are countries that received a lot from Europe when they had great need for Europe and that now think they don't need to make even the smallest contribution to common solidarity," Gentiloni insisted.