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Follwoing (Forat) — European Union nations have "agreed in principle" to relocate across the continent 160,000 refugees from Italy, Greece and Hungary, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters Monday following a meeting of EU ministers.
Meanwhile, the European Union Council reached a preliminary agreement to redistribute over the next two years 32,000 refugees from Italy and Greece, primary gateways for a flood of migrants pouring into Europe.The council hopes to raise that figure to 40,000 by December.
"The first relocations of people in need of international protection can start quickly," European Council president Jean Asselborn said Monday.
The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates Europe has been flooded this year with more than 410,000 refugees and migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan.
The interior and justice ministers of the 28-nation EU met in Brussels Monday as Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's vice chancellor, warned that his country is expecting more than 1 million migrants this year, 200,000 higher that the previous estimate.
The EU is looking for member states to contribute military ships and planes for an international operation in the Mediterranean to counter human trafficking by smugglers, the Associated Press reported. If the program is approved, the ships could seize and divert vessels that are not carrying national flags in international waters, the AP said, adding that approval could take several weeks. /End/
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