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European Union Approves Quota System To Relocate 120,000 Refugees

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Despite protestations from some former Soviet bloc countries, the European Union decided to resettle 120,000 refugees through a system of quotas determined by the size and wealth of each country.

As The Guardian explains it, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania opposed the plan. It adds that the nine countries in central and eastern Europe would have to take in about 10,000 refugees. Germany and France, which supported the plan, would take in about double that.

TheGuardian reports:

"The Slovak prime minister, Robert Fico, said the vote was unprecedented in EU history and vowed to defy it. 'As long as I am prime minister, mandatory quotas will not be implemented on Slovak territory,' Fico told the parliament's EU affairs committee.

"Meanwhile the Czech government had earlier warned that any attempt to impose such a scheme would be unworkable and could end in 'big ridicule' for governments and EU authorities.

" 'We will soon realise that the emperor has no clothes. Common sense lost today,' Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec tweeted after the vote."

As USA Today reports, this is one step toward trying to deal with the most acute migrant crisis since World War II. On Wednesday, the paper reports, ministers from those countries will meet to continue a discussion the issues.

The paper adds:

"British Prime Minister David Cameron called German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday to discuss that summit, his office said.

"The two leaders both agreed the EU should 'consider its broader response to the crisis, particularly what more it can do to enable Syria's neighbors to cope with the influx of refugees; how it can support a political process in Syria; and what further assistance can be provided to strengthen Europe's external borders,' the statement said.

"The statement added that Cameron will discuss the same issues with French President Francois Hollande as he visits Britain on Tuesday."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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