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EU home affairs ministers gather to seek refugee relocation deal

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-09-22 23:04

EU home affairs ministers gather to seek refugee relocation deal

Hungary's Interior Minister Sandor Pinter and Belgium's Asylum and Migration State Secretary Theo Francken (R) attend an extraordinary European Justice and Home Affairs ministers meeting to discuss migrants crisis in Brussels, Belgium, September 22, 2015.[Photo/Agencies]

BRUSSELS - Home affairs ministers of European Union (EU) member states gathered here Tuesday afternoon to resolve the dispute over the emergency relocation of 120,000 refugees.

The European Commission has proposed resettling the 120,000 refugees on top of the 40,000 refugees that member states agreed to relocate from EU countries exposed to massive migratory flows.

However, the plan was outright resisted by many member states, including Britain and several countries in central Europe.

Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, who has disputed the legality of the quota system, said the plan was an "empty political gesture" ahead of the meeting.

The minister previously said his country was ready to take in thousands of people, but on a voluntary basis.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere predicted a difficult meeting before he stepped into the talks. "This will be a hard meeting. I'm not sure that we will have a result," he said.

However, he said the ministers would struggle to cope with how to handle the huge number of refugees at the emergency meeting.

"We will work hard and I think it is unacceptable if Europe sends a message to the world that today there is no possible solution. "

Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg's minister of immigration and asylum, pledged to break the deadlock on his way into the talks.

As the president of the emergency talks, Asselborn said "very hard work" had gone into agreeing on a draft text before the meeting. He was confident the draft text would have a "very positive influence" on all the delegates and should form the basis of an agreement.

The European Commissioner in charge of migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, reiterated the call from the EU to the member states, saying today's meeting was the time for EU ministers to "show we really mean it when we talk about responsibility and solidarity."

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