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EU ministers' meeting Swiss president regrets delaying of refugee decision

Sommaruga, left, represented Switzerland at the meeting of EU interior ministers on Monday

(Keystone)

Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga expressed disappointment at EU interior ministers‘ postponement of a permanent decision to distribute refugees across European countries. The ministers met in an emergency session in Luxembourg on Monday.

Sommaruga, who attended the talks as a representative of Swiss government in charge of asylum policies, said that “I have argued for a refugee distribution system for years” and that such a system is the only way to bring about real asylum reform with solidarity.

The gathering of interior ministers decided to table a permanent decision on a refugee distribution system until another meeting on October 8 and 9.

They did agree to re-settle some 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece but waited to decide on quotas and details of distributing another 120,000 until the October meeting.

The ministers also agreed the nations taking on the burden of relocation would receive a lump sum of 6,000 euros (CHF6,572) per refugee.

Border control

Meanwhile, several European countries announced border control measures to stem the flow of migrants coming across their borders.

After Germany instituted a similar measure on Sunday, Austria’s interior minister said her country would begin temporary border controls at the Austrian-Hungarian border. Slovakia, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands also spoke of similar measures.

According to Dimitris Avramopoulos, European commissioner on immigration, the ministers also agreed to set up "hotspots" in Italy and Greece, to welcome migrants, register asylum seekers and identify irregular cases.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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