The Council agreed on a draft decision establishing a temporary and exceptional relocation mechanism from Italy and Greece to other member states of persons in clear need of international protection. In line with existing rules, Italy and Greece guaranteed that the asylum seekers arriving on their territories are identified, registered and that their fingerprints are taken. The member states, meeting within the Council, agreed by consensus on the distribution of 32 256 persons to be relocated and adopted a resolution to this end. Ministers committed to agree on the distribution of the remaining 7 744 persons by the end of 2015.
The Council will formally adopt the decision once the European Parliament gives its opinion, which is expected in September.
Furthermore, the member states adopted conclusions on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 22 504 displaced persons from outside the EU who are in clear need of international protection. They welcomed the readiness of associated states to participate in the resettling efforts.
Relocation and resettlement are one of three dimensions of the EU efforts to address the growing migratory flows. The two others are return, readmission and reintegration of irregular migrants and cooperation with countries of origin and transit to tackle the root causes of migration.
"The most important result of today's discussion is that persons in need of international protection can be reallocated as from October this year. Our meeting has clearly shown that the European Union and its member states are ready to overcome the challenge of the migratory pressure together", said Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg's Minister for Immigration and Asylum and President of the Council.
The Council also adopted conclusions on the designation of certain third countries as safe countries of origin within the meaning of the Asylum Procedures directive. The Council strongly recommends that priority should be given to an assessment by all member states of the safety of the Western Balkans, in order to support the swift processing of asylum applications of persons having the nationality of third countries designated as safe, even if the authorities of member states must examine each specific case on its merits.
The Council adopted a note inviting the EU member states to follow the Commission guidance on the implementation of the Eurodac regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints of asylum seekers and irregular migrants.