EU member states would be paid €6,000 for each migrant they accept from Mediterranean rescue boats under a new plan aimed at healing deep divisions within the bloc over how to deal with the crisis.
The draft European Commission migration proposal, which envisages secure processing centres being established voluntarily in member countries, will be put to EU ambassadors today. All costs would be covered by the EU.
The number of asylum seekers arriving in Europe has fallen sharply compared with previous crisis years, but the EU remains under pressure from populist and anti-immigration governments in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Poland and elsewhere to toughen its immigration regime.
The proposed scheme immediately ran into trouble yesterday as Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister, dismissed the offer of EU financial aid as insulting. “If they want to give money to someone else they can do so. Italy doesn’t need charity,” he said. “Italy is not asking for charity handouts.”
He added: “Over time, every asylum seeker costs between €40,000 and €50,000.”