The European Commission has called on EU member states to take in 40,000 asylum seekers from Syria and Eritrea who land in Italy and Greece over the next two years.
Germany, France and Spain would receive the most migrants under the Commission’s latest plan.
The idea of using quotas to resettle those who have made it to Europe has caused controversy in some EU states.
The UK government says that it will not take part in such a system.
France, Spain, Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia have also all voiced concerns and a final decision will be taken by EU governments after a vote by MEPs.
Denmark has the right to opt out of the plan while Ireland and the UK can decide whether they wish to opt in.
The plan applies to Syrian and Eritrean nationals who arrive in Italy or Greece after 15 April 2015. The Commission said it could also apply to Malta if it also faced a sudden influx of migrants.
This is in addition to moves announced earlier this month by the EU for a voluntary scheme to settle 20,000 refugees fleeing conflict who are currently living outside the EU.