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(24 September 2019) - Interior ministers from five European Union countries said yesterday they had agreed a new scheme to distribute migrants saved from the Mediterranean in a deal aimed at relieving the pressure on southern EU states.

Migrants
© Jacques Delors Institute

The plan will be presented to interior ministers from all 28 EU nations on 8 October, with officials anxious to sign up as many states as possible to the programme and resolve one of the most contentious issues the bloc has faced in recent years.

Maltese Interior Minister Michael Farrugia was joined at Monday’s meeting by his counterparts from Italy, France, Germany and Finland, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

Details of the accord were not given at the end of the meeting, but Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said the idea was for rescued migrants to be sent to various EU states within four weeks of being brought ashore. Those countries would then handle their asylum requests, welcoming them in if they met the necessary requirements and organising their repatriation if they do not. (EurActiv / Reuters)

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