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The refugee crisis was always a crucial issue for Europe, and even more so after Britain's decision to leave the European Union(EU), which made it necessary to launch a new path for the bloc, Italian media on Tuesday reported Interior Minister Angelino Alfano as saying, reported Xinhua.
"Europe is facing now two crucial challenges: one concerns the economy over a lack of substantial growth, and the other one is the refugee crisis," Alfano told La Repubblica newspaper in an interview on Monday.
"We have to be careful in addressing both of them, because if we care only about economy and neglect the migrant issue, European people will feel insecure and scared. On the refugee crisis in particular, Italy sticks with its proposal: the so-called Migration Compact," he added.
In September last year, the EU Commission unveiled a refugee relocation plan aimed at distributing some 120,000 people from Italy, Greece, and Hungary across the bloc.
Syrians, Eritreans, and Iraqis were supposed to benefit the most from the plan, since they constitute the large majority of those fleeing towards Europe to escape wars or persecution.
Previously, the Commission had already proposed to relocate some 40,000 people from Italy and Greece over two years.
The scheme was based on the principle of shared responsibility, meaning the number of refugees each EU state should take would be based on objective criteria, such as population size, total wealth of the country, and unemployment rate.
Yet, several EU member states refused to comply with the plan.
Some 24 EU member states have offered 12,990 available places for hosting the 160,000 refugees up to Aug. 22, according to latest EU figures.
Only 961 refugees out of 39,600 were relocated from Italy to other countries; some 3,016 out of 66,400 were relocated from Greece.
The refugee relocation plan suggested increasing cooperation with key African countries to deter migrant departures, welcoming refugees fleeing wars and persecution and distributing them equally among EU countries, and repatriating irregular migrants, but after rescuing them if in danger.
"At the same time, Europe needs a tougher approach with those African countries that benefit from international cooperation funds (by EU members), but do not fulfill their promises with respects to migrant departures," Alfano said.
Read more on xinhuanet.com.