On Thursday, European Union leaders are expected to officially agree to take in 40,000 asylum-seekers from the growing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, according to a draft final summit statement. However, while the EU has agreed to take in people coming to the continent from Libya, the Balkans, and the Middle East, they have yet to decide how exactly they will spread the 40,000 people among EU member countries. Initially, EU leaders had planned to create a system of quotas that would ensure each of the 28 countries in the EU took on an equitable share of the displaced migrant group. This proposal was shot down by leaders at a recent Brussels summit, however, and EU countries can now participate on a voluntary basis.
Mostly, EU leaders are focusing on discouraging illegal immigration and only guaranteeing the stay of legitimate asylum seekers. At this point in time both Italy and Greece are inundated with asylum-seekers, with 24,000 in Italy and another 16,000 in Greece. While efforts to alleviate the burden somewhat from these two countries will help, it won't make much of a dent in the EU's overall numbers. The Guardian reports that last year more than 600,000 people sought asylum in the EU, and this year that number is expected to be even higher.