05:37 GMT +319 January 2020
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    European Union member states have reached a deal to redistribute some 55,000 asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa, temporarily resolving the current migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said Monday.

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

    Several EU member states refused the proposed relocation plan, which caused EU government heads to revise the European Commission's mandatory migrant quotas.

    "We intended [to resettle] 60,000 people. Today we have 22,504 people to relocate [to the EU] and 32,256 people to be redistributed [within the EU]. In total, 54,760," Asselborn said following the EU Council’s meeting.

    The top diplomat added that the relocation mechanism will require additional efforts for the redistribution quota to be reached in the second year of the program.

    In recent months, southern Europe's Mediterranean Sea coastlines have seen a major migrant crisis as thousands of people continue to flee conflict-torn countries in North Africa and the Middle East, making the sea journey to Europe.

    According to the United Nations data, 137,000 refugees crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe in the first six months of 2015, and nearly 2,000 have drowned during the journey.


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