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Malta suggests bonus or fine of €60,000 per asylum seeker to end EU migration row

EU countries would get €60,000 for every asylum seeker they take in above their EU-set quota as part of a plan drawn up the government of Malta that currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of Europe. The government of the island state believes that financial incentives will persuade EU member-states to meet the commitments they agreed upon and signed for.

Malta proposed the financial incentive scheme in a bid to persuade Eastern European countries to take in more refugees. It also suggests countries pay the same amount if they fall below their quota.

According to a document obtained by German news agency DPA, the proposal provides that countries receiving refugees would be compensated with the same amount. But a possible compensation would only be approved if the European Commission had verified that the particular EU member-state was indeed burdened by a large number of refugees. According to the proposal, countries refusing to accept asylum applicants would be allowed also to contribute by providing border-guards or asylum experts.

Some 17,000 asylum seekers from Southern European countries have been relocated over the past two years under the EU’s refugee relocation scheme, which had aimed to relocate 160,000 people. A mandatory relocation quota has led to fierce opposition in some countries, including Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

“In order to overcome the political obstacle to receive an unknown number of persons … an EU overall cap for allocations could, for example, be set at 200,000 applications per calendar year,” says the Maltese proposal.

Under the Maltese proposal, EU states would be obliged to take in at least half of their quota and could meet the other half by providing help such as money or staff to help with the screening of people arriving in frontline states.

Countries hosting more people than they are due would receive 60,000 euros per extra person over five years. Those who take in fewer people than their quota, would pay the same amount for every asylum-seeker they fail to take.

That compares with a 250,000 euro fine floated by the bloc’s executive European Commission a year ago for each asylum seeker a country refuses to take.

For the eastern Europeans, which cite security as well as the largely homogenous make-up of their societies for their refusal to help, Malta suggested a three-year phasing-in period to “further develop their asylum and reception systems”.

The Maltese proposal will be discussed by representatives from the member countries in Brussels on Wednesday. (reuters and other sources)

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