Britain may have to pay £90m for a scheme to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers around Europe, despite the Prime Minister saying it could encourage more migrants to risk their lives travelling across the continent.
Downing Street admitted last night that Britain will have to pay part of the bill for the scheme, despite David Cameron repeatedly saying the UK had opted out of compulsory quotas. Even though Britain will still be exempt from accepting the migrants, it still has to pay into the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), and will probably also have to pay additional costs.
The Times reports that European Commission President told the European Parliament yesterday: “We are not in a good place. There is a lack of Europe in the EU and there is a lack of union in the European Union. That has to change. This has to be done in a compulsory way — 160,000 that’s the number. I hope that this time everyone will be on board. No rhetoric. Action is what is needed.”
The compulsory quotas face strong opposition from eastern European nations such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but they look set to be outvoted in an emergency meeting next Monday.
Resettling the refugees will cost around €1.04bn, with most of the funds coming from the AMIF, but European leaders are now considering demanding an extra €780m from national treasuries, including Britain.
Britain’s total bill, including already budgeted costs as well as the extra cash, comes to £90m over the course of two years.
The European Commission will propose to overhaul the so-called “Dublin regulation” next year, which requires asylum seekers to stay in the first EU country they arrive at. The regulation has helped Britain cut its share EU asylum claims from 10 per cent in 2008 to less than four per cent. By contrast, Germany is now processing 40 per cent.
The Commission also plans to force countries to post job adverts in areas of other nations with high unemployment. The move would “promote and safeguard the free movement of citizens”, the Commission claims.