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EU States Agree Migrant Quotas By ‘Large Majority’


Migrants and refugees wearing raincoats queue at a camp to register after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border near Gevgelija, Macedonia.

Migrants and refugees wearing raincoats queue at a camp to register after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border near Gevgelija, Macedonia.

European Union interior ministers have voted by majority to adopt a resolution on distributing migrants among the bloc’s member states.

The EU's Luxembourg Presidency said in a tweet on September 22, "Decision on relocation for 120,000 persons adopted today, by large majority of member states."

The plan, which is to take effect over the next two years, was approved after overriding opposition from Central and Eastern European countries.

Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia voted against the plan, while Finland abstained.

After the vote, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said he would not implement the quotas as long as he was in office.

"Very soon we will realize the emperor has no clothes,” Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec tweeted. “Today was a defeat for common sense."

Europe is facing its biggest influx of migrants and asylum seekers since World War II.

More than 500,000 migrants have entered EU member states this year, many of them escaping conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

EU leaders are set to hold an emergency summit on the migrant crisis on September 23.

Meanwhile, scuffles have broken out in Croatia between police and migrants.

WATCH: Hundreds of trucks were stopped for two days at the Bajakovo border checkpoint after Croatia closed the crossing at midnight on September 20. The move was a protest against Serbia's decision to channel refugee and migrant traffic toward Croatia. Local media reported that the border crossing had been opened to trucks with perishable goods on the evening of September 22. (RFE/RL's Balkan Service)

The trouble started early on September 22 at a new transit camp in the eastern village of Opatovac, where migrants streamed to the gates in great numbers, overwhelming authorities.

Adding to the chaos, people inside the camp mobbed the gates and demanded to leave, since they had been promised they would stay only 24 hours before being allowed to continue their journeys.

Police pushed people back from both sides of the gate, but tensions remained high.

Croatia's Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic urged Serbia to restart directing migrants to Hungary and Romania to help ease the burden on his country.

Milanovic's call on September 22 comes after Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic urged the European Commission to respond to Croatia's closure of its border with Serbia, threatening unspecified "countermeasures."

Hungary sealed its border with Serbia on September 15 to stem the massive influx of refugees. After that, Belgrade started directing migrants to Croatia, which shut down all but one of its border crossings with Serbia last week.

Later on September 22, the Croatian government said it had lifted the ban for trucks carrying perishable goods, state radio reported.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, dpa, and AP
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