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EU nations face large fines for refusing refugees under new proposal

A boy plays in a mud puddle at a makeshift camp of the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, on March 8, 2016, where thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped by the Balkans border blockade.
Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images
A boy plays in a mud puddle at a makeshift camp of the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni, on March 8, 2016, where thousands of refugees and migrants are trapped by the Balkans border blockade.

European Union (EU) countries who refuse to take in their allocation of migrants may face fines of up to 250,000 Euros ($287,304) per refugee.

The new legislation, reported by the Financial Times, is likely to be the most disputed out of several proposals to be announced Wednesday in Brussels at the European Commission.

It is part of a revision to the so-called Dublin asylum regulation, and is the EU's biggest push to rescue a process struggling to cope with the million-plus migrants to have arrived in Europe in the last year, according to the FT.

In 2015, 1.3 million people sought asylum in Europe, said Eurostat. The majority come from Syria, with Afghanistan and Iraq following closely behind.

European governments have been facing increasing calls to curb the number of migrants entering the EU. The number of migrants to cross the Mediterranean fell 59 percent last month compared to April 2015, according to the United Nations.


Refugees will be allocated to EU countries based on a quota system decided by the individual country's wealth and size.

According to the FT, this revision to the Dublin asylum regulation will include a clause that allows countries to avoid taking in asylum seekers, such as Poland, who has thus far refused to take in large numbers of refugees. However, countries would incur a hefty fine if they refuse; Poland, for example, will have to pay approximately 1.5 billion euros to forgo its 6,200 quota of relocating refugees.

"The size of the contribution may change but the idea is to make it appear like a sanction," said one EU official to the FT.

Along with these revisions, the European Commission is also set on Wednesday to re-visit a deal to allow visa-free travel for Turkish citizens to travel inside Europe's Schengen zone, if Turkey meets all requirements agreed upon in March between EC president Donald Tusk and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The deal stated that Turkey take back all illegal Syrian immigrants who had not made the correct asylum requests within the EU. In return, Turkish nationals would be allowed to travel freely within the 28-nations of the EU, bringing them a step close to the European membership they seek. This would not allow Turkish nationals to work visa-free within the EU, however.

The European Commission was unavailable for comment at the time this piece was published. You can read the FT article here.