Asylum Plan

Divided Europe Reaches Refugee Deal

de maziere theresa may DPA
Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maziere and his British colleague Theresa May meet at a special summit on refugees in Brussels.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The refugee crisis has deeply divided the European Union. The plan to relocate 120,000 refugees among 25 E.U. countries, including Eastern European countries, could provoke disharmony in the future.

  • Facts


    • The plan consciously excludes controversial language like “quota” and “mandatory.”
    • Countries will not be able to avoid accepting refugees by paying financial penalties.
    • The E.U. leaders on Wednesday will address the foreign policy dimensions of the crisis.
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The European Union has hammered out a deal to relocate 120,000 refugees across member states.

In an emergency meeting on Tuesday night in Brussels, the E.U. interior ministers agreed to the one-off, emergency measure.

The hard-won settlement avoided controversial terms such as “quota” or “mandatory” in a bid to ease concerns among some Eastern European countries that the plan threatens their sovereignty.

However, the deal was not unanimous, with four Eastern European countries voting against the plan.

With the whole continent struggling to cope with an unprecedented flow of refugees arriving overland via the Western Balkans and on the shores of Italy and Greece, pressure is mounting on E.U. leaders to thrash out a coordinated European response.

The meeting of interior ministers laid the groundwork for today’s gathering of the heads of state and government.

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