EU refugee commissioner says 'fairly optimistic' on quota deal
The European Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said in comments published Thursday he was "fairly optimistic" EU ministers would reach an agreement next week on distributing migrants among member states.
Interior ministers meet on Tuesday after failing this week to agree on a European Commission proposal to distribute 160,000 refugees between the 28 EU member states according to a quota system based on population and economic strength.
"I am fairly optimistic that we can achieve a breakthrough at the EU interior ministers meeting next Tuesday and we can agree to solidarity in the distribution of refugees within the EU," he told German conservative daily Die Welt.
"Everyone has to take responsibility. It is absolutely urgent that we come to a decision and find a common European solution," he said about the plan, which several eastern European in particular have firmly opposed.
Avramopoulos also called for better controls of the EU's external borders and said Brussels would later this year propose a plan for multinational teams to be deployed under a so-called European Border Guard System, but he stressed that "we do not want a fortress Europe".
© 2015 AFP