Following recent divisions over migration and Italy’s hard-line anti-immigrant policy, the EU proposed financial incentives to EU countries to admit migrants. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini dismissed the offer as mere "charity."
The European Commission wants to offer EU money to member states that open their ports for migrants. It further wants to set up centers inside the block as well as in North Africa to funnel the asylum process.
What’s the plan about?
This what the EU Commission proposed on Tuesday:
- The EU would pay over 6,000 euros to member states per migrant taken in
- The EU would further fund the cost of hundreds of expert personnel to help process asylum seekers, ranging from interpreters to asylum experts
- Member states inside the EU to set up so-called "controlled centers" to process asylum applications
- "Regional disembarkation platforms“ to be set up outside the EU to process migrants rescued at sea
The plan has yet to be discussed with EU envoys. However, the EU wants to launch a pilot phase with "controlled centers“ as soon as possible. No government has yet come forward to host those new centers. Reuters reports Spain, France and Malta may see the greatest benefit given that they have been taking in migrants that Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has rejected.
The set-up would allow for quick screening of arriving migrants, sending back those who do not qualify for asylum, the Commission said. It would also prevent migrants from skirting registration rules and heading straight to the most sought-after destinations, including Germany and Sweden.
Italy swiftly denounced the plans. Matteo Salvini, Interior Minister, said: „"We aren't asking for charity handouts. Every asylum seeker costs the Italian taxpayer between 40,000 and 50,000 euros. Brussels, they can keep their charity for themselves," Salvini told reporters. "We don't want money. We want dignity."
Italy is also taking steps to reduce benefits for asylum seekers. On Monday the interior ministry said it wants to recude the amount of money Italy spends on each migrant from 35 euros a day to 25 euros, AP reports.