Malta proposes cash-for-refugees EU scheme

Malta proposes incentive scheme that could see EU countries paid €60,000 for every refugee they take in

Malta's proposal aims at incentivising EU countries to take in more refugees
Malta's proposal aims at incentivising EU countries to take in more refugees

Malta has proposed that EU countries be paid €60,000 for every asylum seeker they take in over and above their EU-set quota.

The proposal, as reported by Reuters, suggests that at times of high numbers of people seeking asylum, the distribution of people across the bloc would kick in "quasi-automatically" and each country would be obliged to take a number of them based on its size and wealth. 

"In order to overcome the political obstacle to receive an unknown number of persons ... an EU overall cap for allocations could, for example, be set at 200,000 applications per calendar year," the proposal reads.

The scheme is intended to incentivises EU member states, in particular Eastern European ones, to take in more refugees. 

EU member states only managed to relocate some 17,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece over the past two years under an EU relocation scheme that had been aimed to relocate 160,000 people. A mandatory relocation quota has led to fierce resistance in some countries, including Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. 

The relocation system formally expires in September and several EU leaders are pushing for a new agreement by the middle of this year. If that fails, as seems likely, the EU is set for a big showdown over migration in the second half of 2017.

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