EU asks member states to take 40,000 migrants from shelters in Italy and Greece

Britain has already said it will opt out of the “relocation plan”, which is designed to share the cost of soaring migrant arrivals. It may also opt out of the “resettlement plan” – a one-off voluntary scheme which will see 20,000 asylum seekers who are not currently in the EU be housed within member states.

The plan for “resettlement” sees Britain asked to accept 2,309 asylum seekers – 11.54 per cent of the total, and the third highest amount. Germany will be asked to take the lion’s share, and house 3,086 people – despite the fact that Berlin already accepts more asylum seekers than any other nation. France will take the second highest number, or 2,375 people.

But given the voluntary nature of the plan, the EU will not be able to force nations to comply.

“Everyone who needs sanctuary should find it in Europe,” said Frans Timmermans, the first vice president. “But those who have no justified claim should be quickly identified and returned to their home country. This is essential for migration policies to be well accepted in society.”

In a clause likely to alarm Rome and Athens, the 40,000 figure will only apply to migrants who arrived after April 15, or after the deal is agreed. There was no mention of how to deal with those who have already arrived, and are living in overflowing camps in the southern Mediterranean…

The Daily Mail reports that the UK may be forced to take 2,300 from non-EU countries.