EU home affairs ministers decided on relocation of 120,000 refugees
At their meeting today on 22 September in Brussels, the EU home affairs ministers decided to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU countries. Finland's share will be about 2,400 asylum seekers over the next two years. Minister of the Interior Petteri Orpo represented Finland at the meeting.
- I am pleased that we reached agreement on relocating the 120,000 asylum seekers. We did not, however, reach agreement without voting. Finland abstained because, in our view, burden sharing issues should not be decided by qualified majority but they should be agreed on a voluntary basis.
It was decided at the meeting that asylum seekers will not be relocated from Hungary to other EU countries, as previously proposed by the Commission. The proposed 54,000 people to be relocated from Hungary will be relocated from Greece and Italy instead.
- In spite of how we voted, Finland will fulfil its responsibility, as we have said from the very beginning. In addition, we still need joint EU action to ensure that Italy and Greece register those entering their countries. At present, people are not registered in all EU countries. This results in uncontrolled migration of asylum seekers across Europe with asylum seekers even turning to human smugglers. It is, however, positive that the hotspot approach facilitating registration is being set up in Italy and Greece, Mr Orpo said.
On 9 September 2015, the European Commission put forward its package of proposals for a better management of migration flows while promoting solidarity and burden sharing within the Union. The home affairs ministers will continue the follow-up of the agreed measures at their meetings this autumn. The EU heads of state or government will convene tomorrow to discuss the refugee situation. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä will represent Finland at the meeting.
Laura Yli-Vakkuri, Director General, tel. +358 40 720 22 16