European Union to Hold Emergency Meeting on Refugee Quotas

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Two Syrian refugees stand on a beach amidst life jackets and deflated dinghies, moments after arriving in a dinghy on the Greek island of Lesbos, September 13. Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis

The European Union is to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the relocation of thousands of migrants across the bloc on Monday as ministers seek solutions to share the burden of the refugee crisis.

The European Commission has issued a proposal to relocate 160,000 refugees across the bloc using binding quotas for EU member states in a bid to relieve the strain on frontier countries such as Italy, Greece and Hungary. The proposal is set to be discussed by ministers at the meeting in Brussels on Monday but is expected to face strong opposition from a number of eastern EU member states such as Slovakia and Czech Republic.

The summit comes as Germany temporarily re-imposed border controls on Sunday to stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of refugees into the country. German authorities have now restarted passport checks at its borders.

"The German decision of today underlines the urgency to agree on the measures proposed by the European Commission in order to manage the refugee crisis," the Commission said in a statement on Sunday, according to AFP news agency.

Hungarian police also announced that a record number of 5,809 refugees entered the country on Sunday, beating the previous day's record of 4,330. The country is set to introduce tougher immigration measures this week, with refugees who enter into Hungarian territory illegally to be arrested. The Hungarian news website Index.hu claimed that its neighbour and non-EU member Serbia would attempt to move on more than 25,000 refugees into Hungary before the tougher law comes into effect.

The UN's refugee agency released a report earlier this month which claimed that the number of migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe's borders has reached more than 300,000, the biggest movement of people since World War II.

The crisis has deeply divided EU nations, with Germany changing its border policy after originally announcing that it would allow Syrian refugees to stay and build a life in the country earlier this month. Elsewhere, Hungary is constructing a fence on its border with Serbia to stem the flow of migrants across its borders and Slovakia has said that it will not accept Muslim refugees.

European Union to Hold Emergency Meeting on Refugee Quotas | World