Newly returned home secretary Theresa May is offering a robust response to the European Union, as it plans to set quotas for each European nation to receive migrants as they come off smuggler boats in Italy.
Remarking that the United Kingdom has long been a place of refuge to asylum seekers from around the world, a spokesman for the home office said of the quotas: “we do not believe that a mandatory system of resettlement is the answer. We will oppose any EU commission proposals to introduce a non-voluntary quota”.
The spokesman continued “When a new piece of legislation in the area of justice and home affairs – including asylum policy – is proposed, the UK can choose whether or not to participate in it. We will not participate in any legislation imposing a mandatory system of resettlement or relocation”, reports The Guardian. The move has been opposed by UK migrant rights groups.
The EU plan involved creating a permanent system of distribution to relieve pressure from the most common targets for newly arrived migrants, mainly Germany and Italy, where the vast majority make landfall. This means the numbers of migrants likely to be received by most EU member states would increase dramatically should the plan be put in place.
Breitbart London reported only last week that the plan was already starting to unravel, as Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia raised objections. Maltese MEP Robert Metsola, representing another nation which takes a large proportion of migrants said: “We need a binding solidarity mechanism that allows for the fair distribution of asylum seekers among member states once a certain threshold has been reached. This is not a challenge that Italy or Malta or Greece should face alone.”
Dissenting, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán hit back: “This is not solidarity. It is an unfair, unrighteous and dishonourable proposal which we cannot accept, it is a crazy idea for someone to let refugees into their own country, not defend their borders, and then say: ‘Now I will distribute them among you, who did not want to let anyone in’.”
Frustrated by the lack of progress, and the long time period that enacting EU legislation takes – the motion is not due to be tabled until the end of the year – the European Union is seeking to use emergency powers to force the transfer of refugees to countries like Britain anyway, despite national protests.