“The discussions will certainly be long, emotional and hard “, Latvian Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis told a local broadcaster before traveling to the Belgian capital.
“The Commission is under an obligation to enforce what we agreed”, said Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Council.
“To allow for account to be taken of the rapidly evolving situation, 66,000 will be allocated initially for the relocation of people from Greece and Italy and there will be an option to relocate the balance of 54,000 people from other member states coming under pressure if necessary”.
Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban said that millions of migrants are “laying siege” to the borders of his country and of Europe, putting the continent in danger.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said his country would take more than 30,000 people.
Europe as a whole has struggled in recent weeks to fashion a coherent response to a historic wave of people fleeing conflict and destruction in the Middle East and North Africa – primarily from Syria, where a civil war has raged for more than four years, leaving cities in ruins.
But the bloc usually strives for consensus decision and there had been fears that a majority vote on such a sensitive issue could drive a damaging wedge between European Union countries – on top of the animosity already created by Europe’s migration crisis.
European Union’s interior ministers on Tuesday approved a controversial plan to resettle more than 100,000 refugees throughout the continent as they struggle to solve the region’s growing crisis.
Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania all opposed the quotas, and Finland abstained.
As migrants continue to arrive in Austria and Germany along the eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey through the Balkans and Hungary, it is becoming clear that even the EU’s enlarged redistribution scheme will settle only a fraction of the incomers expected this year.
He said any attempt to impose such a scheme could end in “big ridicule” for the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, and for governments that supported the idea.
“(It’s) a bad decision and the Czech Republic did all it could to block it”, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said afterwards.
The quota plan is aimed at taking the pressure off certain countries such as Germany – the final destination for hundreds of thousands – as well as Italy and Greece where many first arrive.
Norway became the latest member of Europe’s 26-nation Schengen area, where people can normally travel across frontiers without showing a passport, to say it would intensify border controls.
Most are trying to find a new route to Germany since the route through Hungary became impassable.
Migrants walks the last kilometres towards a refugee camp after crossing the Croatian border with Serbia on September 22, 2015 in Opatovac, Croatia.
“They want to recruit refugees for their affairs”, Maassen said.
Hungarian soldiers put up fences on a border crossing with Croatia.