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EU wants France to take in 9,000 asylum seekers

Migrants talk with a UNHCR member after disembarking at the Sicilian harbour of Catania, southern Italy, May 5, 2015.
Migrants talk with a UNHCR member after disembarking at the Sicilian harbour of Catania, southern Italy, May 5, 2015. Reuters/Antonio Parrinello

The European Union (EU) wants France to take in 9,127 asylum-seekers as part of a plan to take the pressure off Greece and Italy, where some 40,000 refugees from Syria and Eritrea have already landed. The proposal comes after the deaths of hundreds of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean.

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The EU on Wednesday proposed that member states admit 40,000 asylum-seekers from Syria and Eritrea who are already in Italy and Greece.

That comes on top of a plan to resettle 20,000 refugees currently outside Europe.

Rome and Athens have appealed to northern EU states to take more asylum-seekers, as thousands of migrants arrive on their shores and others drown in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean.

 "We ... have a proposal for an emergency mechanism to relocate 40,000 asylum-seekers to other European (member) states," EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told a press conference. "Syrians and Eritreans will be relocated from Italy and Greece to other European Union member states over a period of two years."

Although the EU denies drawing up quotas, a procedure that has been opposed by several countries, it has divided up the number of migrants to be taken according to a "distribution key", which takes into account how many have already been accepted and other factors, including population, GDP and unemployment rates.

France's share of the 40,000 would be 6,752 and, of the 20,000 in the earlier proposal, 2,375.

A European asylum fund will pay 6,000 euros for each asylum seeker accepted.

The proposal will ease the already existing Dublin rules, which require the country where refugees land to take them in if their case is accepted.

Italy and Greece will still be responsible for taking their fingerprints, which has not always been successfully carried out.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls and President François Hollande have seemed reluctant to take in the refugees, while calling for a "fair and considered" sharing of the task.

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