Germany and France have called for the EU to revise proposals for coping with a huge influx of migrants arriving by sea from Africa. The plan foresees the two nations taking in large numbers of them.
In a joint statement released Monday, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and his French counterpart, Bernard Cazeneuve, called for the migrant quotas proposed by the European Commission to be made more equitable.
The two ministers said that the plan "should take more properly into account the efforts already made by member states regarding international protection, and other forms of assistance," pointing out that Germany, France, Sweden, Italy and Hungary have so far taken in 75 percent of asylum-seekers.
They said they were "ready to examine" the proposal, but stressed that "such a mechanism should remain temporary and exceptional and should be part of a global approach on migration."
They also called for so-called "hotspots" to be established close to where migrants are entering Europe so that asylum-seekers can be quickly processed, with those who do not qualify for migration status being turned away.
Additionally, the ministers said a solution should be found for the problem of migrants moving on from the country to which they have been assigned, known as "secondary migration," which would make it impossible to achieve a true balance between the EU member states.
In late May, the Commission had proposed relocating 40,000 asylum seekers away from Italy and Greece, the two countries that have borne the brunt of a wave of migrants coming by boat from Africa over the Mediterranean.
The proposed plan envisaged allocating contingents of asylum seekers over two years on the basis of EU countries' population sizes, unemployment rates, wealth and existing refugee intake rates.
The calculation would mean that Germany and France would be assigned large numbers of migrants.
Europe is facing a dramatic surge in the number of people coming over the Mediterranean from Africa seeking refuge. Thousands have died attempting the perilous journey on boats that are often not seaworthy.
The International Organization for Migration said last week that 77,224 migrants had arrived in southern EU nations by boat since the start of 2015.
Many of the asylum-seekers have fled conflicts in the Middle East. Large groups of people have also left Africa, especially Eritrea, to escape abject poverty.
tj/kms (dpa, AFP, AP)