The EU’s interior ministers started their highly-anticipated meeting to agree next steps in Europe’s burgeoning migrant crisis with a newly drafted communiqué, which Brussels Blog got its hands on and has posted here.
As expected, the new draft would have EU members agreeing to accept 120,000 more refugees and relocate them around the bloc so that none of the front-line countries are overburdened – but rejects the European Commission’s demand that such a relocation system be mandatory, with set quotas for each country.
But what wasn’t expected is a significant watering down of the language that commits ministers to implement that plan. Last night, a draft of the communiqué included this sentence on the need to quickly adopt the relocation scheme:
Work will be carried out as a matter of priority on the preparation of a formal decision to implement this commitment.
In the new draft, that sentence has a new clause that includes a whole lot of caveats:
Work will be carried out as a matter of priority on the preparation of a formal decision to implement this commitment, with due regard to the flexibility that could be needed by Member States in the implementation of the decision, in particular to accommodate unforeseen developments.