Europe asks Spain to take 15,000 refugees

The European Commission will ask Spain to accept about 15,000 refugees who have entered Europe. (AAP)

Spain is being asked to accept 15,000 refugees by the European Commission, after it offered in July to accept 1300 over the next two years.

The European Commission will ask Spain to accept about 15,000 refugees who have entered Europe via Hungary, Italy and Greece.

The figure represents some 12.44 per cent of the 120,000 people whom it is proposing to distribute for settlement among the member states, community sources say.

The new group is more than three times larger than what Brussels had asked Spain to accept in May, when it requested that Madrid take in 4288 refugees of the 40,000 who were to be divided among the 28 European member states.

Spain offered in July to accept 1300 refugees over the next two years, less than a third of the number requested by the Commission, although it did not rule out increasing that figure in December.

The worsening of the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean and the inclusion of Hungary among the countries that will benefit from the measures to alleviate the crisis are the main reasons that an allotment increase has been called for.

"We're using the same distribution key that was in the proposal for Italy and Greece, but evidently, since the new proposal also includes Hungary, the figures for all the other member states will rise," the sources said.

Nevertheless, they said that "the figures for Spain continue to be half of what France and Germany will have to accept".

The EC in May proposed a temporary system of obligatory distribution of refugees for the 40,000 people who had arrived in Italy and Greece since April 15, a system based on four criteria - population, GDP, unemployment and previous efforts to take in foreigners - according to which it was concluded that Spain could accept 10.72 per cent of the total.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy came out forcefully against the so-called "obligatory quotas," calling the criteria used in determining the allotment of refugees unfair because they did not take sufficient account of Spain's high level of unemployment or the number of refugees the country had already taken in.

Brussels decided to maintain the criteria for the earlier proposal, but did slightly modify the method whereby earlier efforts to take in refugees by member states were factored in, community officials said.

Source AAP

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