The European Commission on Wednesday sounded yet another call for EU countries to do a better job of dealing with the migration crisis, saying “progress remains unsatisfactory” on resettling Syrian refugees from Turkey and relocating asylum-seekers across Europe.
“We cannot be satisfied with the results achieved so far,” said the EU’s migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, in a statement. “I urge all member states to get ready to move at last. In parallel, we need to increase resettlements, mostly from Turkey, but also from other countries such as Lebanon and Jordan.”
The latest progress report from the Commission comes two weeks after it sought to jump-start its migration strategy by reforming its system for dealing with asylum-seekers and trying to shore up its much-criticized deal with Turkey on stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.
Avramopoulos said Wednesday that the EU needed “to speed up the pace and deliver fully” on the terms of the EU-Turkey agreement reached in March, which would relocate one Syrian refugee in Europe for every one taken back to Turkey, up to a ceiling of 72,000 people.
The Commission had set a target of relocating at least 20,000 persons by mid-May. But according to the report issued Wednesday, “this target has not been met.”
The report also provided data on the resettlements that have occurred so far. Since the plan came into force on April 4, some 177 Syrians have been resettled, the report says. Sweden has received the largest number (55), followed by Germany (54), the Netherlands (52), Finland (11) and Lithuania (5).
Another 723 applications have already been accepted and the applicants are waiting to be transferred to seven different EU countries.
Despite the lack of progress on relocation, the Commission will not open “infringement” procedures against member countries that are not fulfilling their commitments until the end of the relocation program in 2017, an official said. But diplomats remain skeptical that the Commission would pick a fight when such a high number of member states are not compliant.
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