The countries who decide to take part in the resettlement scheme will benefit from financial incentives. Half a billion euros have been set aside for EU members to take at least 50,000 refugees directly from Africa, the Middle East and Turkey to discourage migrant boats from making the risky Mediterranean crossing.
There will be “increased focus” on taking refugees from North Africa and the Horn of Africa – particularly Libya, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia, the Commission said. This is obviously an effort to placate Italy, which has been under pressure due to high numbers of arrivals from these countries.
At the same time, the European Commission is backpedalling from its mandatory relocation strategy, which alienated several EU members from Central and Eastern Europe.
The programme set up by the Commission was approved by majority vote of member states in the face of opposition from the Visegrad countries who said their societies could not absorb mainly Muslim immigrants.