France rejects European Union's asylum seeker quota initiative

Monday, May 18, 2015

On Saturday, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated his opposition to the European Commission's quota system for distributing asylum seekers amongst member countries of the European Union (EU).

The quotas are determined by the gross domestic product, population, and unemployment levels of countries within the EU, and would mean that Germany, France, and Italy would receive the highest intake of migrants.

Valls did not approve of this scheme, instead suggesting asylum seekers be spread among the nations in a more "fair distribution". He said migrants should be denied access to Europe unless they are truly seeking asylum.

The quota scheme comes amidst a large influx of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa who travel along the Mediterranean Sea. Within the last week, almost 1000 migrants were seized in southern France near to Menton.

France has also suggested ways to stop migrants leaving their countries, including establishing a centre for migrants in Agadez, Niger. This centre, scheduled to be operational toward the end of 2015, is based in Niger as migrants travel through it to get to people smugglers in Libya who then transport them across the Mediterranean Sea.

The EU plans a naval unit to prevent people-smuggling boats from operating in Libyan territory, though it is yet to be approved by the United Nations Security Council.