EU Votes to Spread Out Refugees Across Europe

     (CN) – Over the objections of four former Soviet bloc EU member states, European lawmakers on Wednesday agreed to relocate 120,000 refugees from front-line states directly affected by the migration.
     The special-session vote apportions among the EU states only a fraction of the refugees still flowing into Europe to ease the pressure on Greece and Italy, the entry points for migrants coming from Syria and the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan.
     But ministers from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia balked at the prospect of being forced to take refugees against their will. While the four nations are expected to – and legally required to – comply with the decision, representatives from the Czech Republic and Slovakia have said they will not.
     Meanwhile Hungary – the most vocal opposition in the crisis with its razor-wire border fortifications and authorization for its military to use nonlethal force to deal with refugees – is calling on the EU to finance refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey instead of apportioning new arrivals across the member states.
     The crisis has pitted the wealthier nations of the EU – Germany and France have lobbied all summer for the apportionment plan – and poorer nations, largely former Soviet bloc nations with their own economic problems and relatively new to the EU and its humanitarian focus.
     All 28 members of the EU will meet again on Wednesday to discuss the refugee crisis further.
     Tuesday’s decision comes three weeks after the European Commission advanced the apportionment plan. The administrative arm of the EU said in a statement that it “welcomes the efforts undertaken by all member states to reach this result.”

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