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EU parliament backs refugee relocation plan

EU parliament votes to allocate 120,000 refugees under quota system, puts pressure on member states

17.09.2015
EU parliament backs refugee relocation plan

BRUSSELS

The European Parliament agreed Thursday to an emergency relocation plan for 120,000 refugees, the EU said in a statement.

"We are very grateful to the European Parliament for understanding the urgency of this matter," EU Vice President Frans Timmermans said before the vote in Brussels.

The vote puts pressure on EU interior ministers to accept a quota system for migrants when they meet next week. A similar meeting Monday saw several nations block the move, primarily central and east European members.

Referring to the European Council, the 28-nation bloc's minister-level body, Timmermans said the vote meant EU lawmakers and bureaucrats "can say to the council that the moment to act is now".

Under the system, refugees will be moved from "frontline" states Italy, Greece and Hungary and redistributed among EU members, with 15,600 moving from Italy, 50,400 from Greece and 54,000 from Hungary. This is in addition to an initial plan to relocate 40,000 that has been approved by member states.

Lawmakers backed the European Commission's proposal by 372 votes to 124 in an emergency vote.

The European Parliament will hold an extraordinary summit on refugees next Wednesday in Brussels, announced president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, on Thursday.

"I will convene an extra EUCO on Wednesday 23 September … to discuss how to deal with the refugee crisis," Tusk tweeted.

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