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EU Angry As States Ignore Migrant Quotas, Miss Target By 97 Per Cent

(Reuters) – EU states virtually ignored a European Commission target for them to take in some 20,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy by mid-May, the bloc’s executive said on Wednesday, renewing a call for more action.

In a regular report on its emergency relocation scheme, which aims to move refugees from the Mediterranean frontline to the rest of the European Union, the EU executive’s data showed only 563 asylum seekers had been moved since it set the 20,000 target two months ago — only 3 percent of the increase needed.

An Eritrean refugee blows a kiss to say goodbye as he boards a plane to travel to Sweden as part of a new programme of the European Union to relocate refugees on October 9, 2015 at the Ciampino airport of Rome. A small group of Eritreans left Italy for Sweden, the first contingent of asylum-seekers to be relocated under a European Union scheme to ease the burden of the migration crisis on frontline countries. Grinning shyly before the media, 19 young Eritreans shook hands with EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and waved as they boarded a financial police plane at Rome's Ciampino airport.   AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP / ANDREAS SOLARO        (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

October 9, 2015. A small group of Eritreans left Italy for Sweden, the first contingent of asylum-seekers to be relocated under a European Union scheme to ease the burden of the migration crisis on frontline countries. Grinning shyly before the media, 19 young Eritreans shook hands with EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and waved as they boarded a financial police plane at Rome’s Ciampino airport. (ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

In total, 1,500 people have now been relocated since the scheme began late last year, a tiny fraction of the 160,000 that governments agreed to take after fractious negotiations in the face of an unprecedented surge in arrivals in Italy and Greece.

Noting that, since the closure of the Balkan route to Germany, some 46,000 migrants are now in Greece waiting for asylum claims to be processed, Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “We cannot be satisfied with the results achieved so far. More has to be done, and swiftly.”

Some of the 28 member states, notably formerly communist countries in the east, have fiercely opposed Commission pressure on them to take in refugees, while most other governments have shown little enthusiasm for a scheme unpopular with many voters.

 

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