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Relocating asylum seekers: vote on extra year for Sweden to take its share  

An EU Commission proposal to give Sweden an extra year to take its share of asylum-seekers agreed in last year’s emergency relocation decisions will be put to a plenary vote on Thursday. Sweden, which already has the EU’s highest per capita rate of applicants for international protection (11,503 per million inhabitants in 2015), asked for a temporary suspension of the relocations last November when it faced a sudden and sharp increase in arrivals.

Of the 160,000 people to be relocated from Italy and Greece, Sweden was allocated a total of 5,727. The final decision will be taken by the Council, but Parliament needs to be consulted. Parliament´s rapporteur, Ska Keller (Greens/EFA, DE), is against the prolongation and has tabled an amendment to reject the Commission proposal.


Note to editors

 

Under two emergency decisions adopted in September last year, 160,000 asylum-seekers with a high chance of being granted refugee status should be moved by 2017 from Italy and Greece to other member states, where their applications will be processed. But as of 13 May, only 1,500 persons had been relocated (909 from Greece and 591 from Italy).

 

According to Eurostat, the number of applicants for international protection rose by more than 60% from 68,245 applicants in 1 January - 31 October 2014 to 112,040 applicants in the same period of 2015. The monthly number of applicants grew from 11,735 in August 2015 to 39,055 in October. Sweden is also struggling with a significant increase in the number of unaccompanied minors, with one out of four applicants claiming to be in that category.


Procedure: Consultation

2015/0314(NLE)

Vote: Thursday, 26 May


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