European Union ministers approved a plan to distribute 120,000 migrants among the bloc’s member states in the face of strong opposition from four Central European countries.
Under the deal agreed to in Brussels on Tuesday, migrants now in Greece, Hungary, and Italy will be moved to other countries over the next two years. Of the three EU members that have an opt-out agreement with the bloc on migration, Denmark and Ireland are part of Tuesday’s deal. Britain, the third country, is not—though it is accepting 4,000 refugees this year, and 20,000 over the next five.
Tuesday’s decision in Brussels was made by a majority vote—a rarity in a bloc that typically operates through consensus. The dissenters were the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. Finland abstained while Poland, which opposed the deal, voted in favor. The Guardian adds:
Of the 120,000 to be divided between the remaining EU states, the nine countries of central and eastern Europe are being asked to take only around 10,000, while Germany and France between them will take double that number.
The divisions at Tuesday’s vote underscore the deep divisions in Europe over the migrant crisis—the region’s most severe since World War II. The crisis has been exacerbated by the Syrian civil war that has produced 4 million refugees. Although the vast majority of them live in camps in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, hundreds of thousands have made their way to Europe. Germany, which says it expects 800,000 asylum-seekers this year, is their top destination.