The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (HCR), Antonio Guterres, called for the distribution of at least 200,000 asylum seekers within the EU on Friday, and believes that the involvement of every EU member state was required in the scheme. “People with a valid reason for asking for protection (…) must consequently benefit from a mass resettlement programme with the mandatory involvement of each and every EU member state. A purely preliminary assessment seems to show the need to resettle potentially that up to 200,000 additional people,” wrote Mr. Guterres in a press release. “Europe is facing its largest refugee influx for decades,” he said, adding that “the situation requires a huge joint effort incompatible with the current fragmented approach” within the EU.
Over 300,000 people crossed the Mediterranean so far this year, and more than 2,600 died on the way, according to UNHCR. “Once they reach European coasts and borders, the chaotic journey is not over,” regretted Mr. Guterres, criticizing the lack of respect with which these people are treated.
He explained that “we are facing what is mostly a refugee crisis, not a new wave of migration,” as the majority of people reaching Greece come from war zones such as Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan.
The High Commissioner reckons the only solution is to implement “a common strategy based on responsibility, solidarity, and trust.” “This must translate on the ground into brave emergency measures to stabilise the situation, before seeking a way to truly share mid- and long-term responsibilities.”
“The EU must be ready, with the approval and the support of governments involved – mainly Greece and Hungary, but also Italy – to make available” urgent accommodation and registration facilities for refugees, he added. He also said that migrants who cannot justify staying in Europe must be sent back to their country of origin.