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Monday, September 14, 2015

EU Commission Sees Pressing Need to Introduce Binding Migrant Quotas  

The European Commission said on Sunday that Germany’s decision to temporarily reintroduce border controls along its border with Austria underlines the urgency for all EU member states to agree on the proposed distribution of migrants under binding quotas. The proposal was made by the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last week in his first State of the Union speech as head of the EU's executive body. German Chancellor Angela Merkel informed Juncker over the phone on Sunday about the temporary reintroduction of controls at the borders with other EU member states, particularly at the German-Austrian border, the EU Commission said in a statement. “The temporary reintroduction of border controls between Member States is an exceptional possibility explicitly foreseen in and regulated by the Schengen Borders Code, in case of a crisis situation. The current situation in Germany, prima facie, appears to be a situation covered by the rules,” the European Commission said in a statement. Noting that the EU institutions have the task to ensure the proportionality of the exceptional measures concerned, the EU Commission said that it will aim to help ensure that the EU “can go back to the normal Schengen system of open borders as soon as feasible.” The EU Interior Ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting on Monday to try to approve Juncker’s proposal to introduce mandatory quotas for the relocation of about 160,000 migrants from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea currently sheltered in Greece, Italy and Hungary, to 22 of the other EU member states. Denmark, the UK and Ireland are exempt from the mandatory scheme but can volunteer to accept migrants if they wish to do so. Bulgaria's Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova said last week that the country will meet its commitment to accept refugees under the Juncker proposal.