11:59 GMT +318 July 2018
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    Officers of the Irish Navy ship Le Eithne rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

    EU Faces July 20 Deadline to Settle Mediterranean Migration Crisis

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    EU officials will convene in Brussels on Monday in order to meet the deadline for reaching a settlement in Mediterranean migration crisis.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — EU officials will convene in Brussels on Monday in order to meet the deadline for reaching a deal to redistribute some 40,000 asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa, resolving the migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.

    In May, the European Commission called on the EU member states to resettle some 40,000 refugees taken by Italy and Greece over the next two years, apart from the 20,000 to be brought to Europe from their countries of origin.

    The deadline was self-imposed by the European Union on July 9, after the European interior ministers failed to reach a deal on relocation of the asylum seekers at a meeting in Luxembourg.

    According to media reports, Austria, Slovakia and Spain refused to commit to taking any migrants, while the United Kingdom and Denmark are not willing to participate in the relocation of those arrived in Greece and Italy.

    Europe is struggling to find a solution to the ongoing migrant crisis caused by a rapid influx of undocumented migrants, many of whom make the dangerous sea journey to escape economic hardships and war in Africa and the Middle East.

    The UN Refugee Agency documented 137,000 refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe in the first six months of 2015, compared to 75,000 during the same period last year.

    Nearly 2,000 have drowned at the sea while trying to reach Europe in 2015, according to UN data.

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