Breaking News

Italy urges EU states to share refugee burden

Italy, the main European frontline country to deal with refugees over the past three years, has called on European Union members to accept their share of refugees entering the bloc.

According to media reports, a document prepared for an imminent EU summit in Brussels on Sunday showed that Italy proposed less EU money for countries that shun their responsibility regarding the refugees.

The document urged EU leaders to seek a way to alleviate high concerns about refugees in several European countries, including Italy, where a new populist government is trying to block the refugee arrivals for good.

It urged the EU members to each establish “entry quotas” for refugees seeking economic opportunities in Europe, the main point in a list of 10 proposals that Italy said could solve the refugee crisis in Europe.

“It is a principle that must be respected, but adequate countermeasures must be provided for funding with respect to states that do not offer welcome to refugees,” it said, adding that Rome wanted a revision of the so-called Dublin regulation which says the country where the refugee lands shall be responsible for handling his or her asylum request.

The document said the responsibility for the refugee should be shared by all of the EU and not only the country receiving the asylum seeker.

“Who arrives in Italy, lands in Europe,” it said, adding, “The rescue obligation can not become an obligation to process (asylum) requests on everyone’s behalf.”

Under the new government, Italy has refused to take in boats carrying refugees from North Africa. Spanish authorities accepted one such stranded refugee boat in the Mediterranean earlier this month. The Aquarius, a French NGO boat carrying 629 refugees had been blocked from docking in Italy and Malta.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Saturday that the country was determined to keep its ports closed to refugees, saying boats transporting asylum seekers had better forget about reaching the European country.

“These boats can forget about reaching Italy, I want to stop the business of trafficking and mafia,” said Salvini