The European Union is struggling to make sure it does not lose millions of migrants who have been granted asylum, the bloc’s commissioner for migration has said.
The European Commission has proposed a package of measures to make it easier for people who have fled war and persecution to apply for asylum, including a temporary extension to work permits, the resignation of border guards and the extension of the right to stay in the Schengen zone of free movement.
The measures will be unveiled next week as part of a new effort to tackle the migration crisis, which is at its peak in the world’s biggest economy and the biggest migration crisis since World War II.
The new measures, which are due to be announced next week, include an additional €6 billion ($6.3 billion) to support the relocation of up to 10,000 migrants who are currently in Italy or Greece and who are not allowed to apply in Europe.EU leaders are hoping to ease the pressure on migration and secure the financial support they need to help thousands of migrants, many of whom have been caught up in a deadly war in Syria and have been trying to cross the Mediterranean.
« The commission has set a goal of having 10,700 refugees in Italy by 2020, which means that we are close to achieving this target, » said Jean-Claude Juncker, the commission president, at a news conference.
« And I can assure you, this is not an easy target to achieve. »
The commission estimates that only 5 percent of the migrants who arrive in Italy each year are granted asylum and that the rest will either end up in detention or be deported.
The European Commission estimates that the migrant crisis is expected to cost the bloc €4.6 billion over the next five years.
The proposed measures, known as « EU relocation, » are intended to make life easier for migrants who arrived from Turkey, Greece and Italy who are still in the European Union, or have already applied for asylum.
They are part of an effort by the bloc to bolster its financial and human resources.
The relocation package includes an extra €6.9 billion to help relocate refugees, which would total about 1.2 million people.
The relocation package would be implemented over a five-year period, which could be extended to a year if necessary.
In the meantime, migrants would be allowed to stay legally in the bloc.
But many people who arrived in Italy from Turkey would have to apply again to have their applications processed.
The plan also includes a temporary pause to the deportations of migrants from Greece and Turkey who were previously held up by the Italian authorities.
A draft proposal also includes extending the right of asylum to people from Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovakia, where the majority of migrants are from Syria.
The proposal comes after the EU Council approved the relocation package in July, which was also welcomed by Turkey.
« Turkey is a friend of Europe, but the EU needs to listen to the voices of Europe’s citizens who are being left behind, » the European Commission said in a statement.
« The Commission will be in contact with the Turkish authorities to ensure they understand the importance of taking all necessary measures to ensure the rights of migrants will not be jeopardized. »
The European Parliament has been pressing for the relocation proposal, and several European countries have also proposed similar measures.
But the issue has not been brought up for debate in the EU parliament, which has a smaller population and is generally less politically engaged.
The migration crisis is also expected to be a headache for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who is seeking re-election next year and is expected not to be able to fulfill his pledge to end the crisis.
Migrants from Italy, Turkey and Greece are stranded in overcrowded reception centers in Italy’s Campania region, which lies in the northern region of the country and has been closed since the war in which the United Nations says more than 12,000 people have died.
The refugee crisis has been exacerbated by a surge in illegal migrants from the Balkans crossing into the Mediterranean and from northern Africa.
About 4.4 million people have entered Europe from the Horn of Africa and are waiting to be resettled in member states.
The U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday that at least 5,817 people have crossed the Mediterranean since July 1, when the EU began relocating people fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
At least 1,200 of those were migrants from Turkey.