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Lords urge Goverment to opt into relocation of migrants proposal

15 July 2015

The House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has today published a short report calling on the Government to participate in the negotiation of a proposed scheme to relocate migrants, provided that the European Commission either amends its existing proposal or drafts a new proposal in line with the Conclusions of the European Council of 25 June 2015.


For the first time, the European Commission has triggered an emergency response mechanism, in order to assist Italy and Greece - who are bearing the brunt of dealing with the large number of migrants entering the EU - by setting up a two-year scheme to relocate 40,000 migrants to other Member States in accordance with a quota. The scheme is temporary and conditional on Italy and Greece taking concrete steps to improve the screening and reception of migrants landing on their shores.

Report recommendations

The European Council meeting of 25 June agreed to adopt a relocation scheme which would be agreed "by consensus" by all participating Member States. This appears to be a rejection of the Commission's mandatory model. 

In its report, the Committee argues that should the Commission amend its proposal or bring forward another one in line with the Council's Conclusions, the UK should fully take part in negotiations on it.

Commenting on the report, Baroness Prashar, Chairman of the Sub-Committee, said:

“We cannot ignore the current crisis unfolding in the Mediterranean, and the pressure being placed on the governments of Italy and Greece. Italy saw 277% more irregular border crossings in 2014 than in 2013, and in Greece the increase was 153%. Genuine collective European action is needed.
“The European Commission proposed a scheme to relocate 40,000 third country migrants from Italy and Greece to other Member States. These are not economic migrants. The vast majority are refugees who have fled civil wars in Syria, Iraq and Eritrea.
“The heads of government of the 28 Member States accepted, at the European Council of 25 June, the principle that these 40,000 migrants should be relocated, but the United Kingdom has said that it is minded not to participate in the scheme.
“The EU Select Committee report, ‘The United Kingdom opt-in to the proposed Council Decision on the relocation of migrants within the EU', urges the UK Government to play its part in this scheme. Whatever the legal and technical arguments about the UK ‘opt in', in the end this turns on the fundamental principle of solidarity and burden sharing between Member States, and on the urgent need to confront a humanitarian crisis happening now within the EU's borders.“

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 Image: PA