This morning Professor Betts spoke to Monocle radio programme The Globalist about the European Commission's new Agenda on Migration, which was announced on Wednesday in Brussels. The Agenda comes in response to the on-going crisis in the Mediterranean, in which more than 1,800 people have lost their lives this year while attempting to make the crossing. By the end of May the Commission will make a recommendation to propose an EU-wide quota scheme that would offer 20,000 resettlement places to refugees, with resettlement shared according to criteria that would include a member state's GDP, population size, past number of asylum seekers, unemployment rate and previous voluntary resettlement efforts.
In addition, the Commission will by the end of the month propose a 'temporary distribution mechanism' for those in need of international protection, in order to assist member states that receive high numbers of displaced people. By the end of the year the Commission will propose a permanent EU-wide system 'for relocation in emergency situations of mass influxes'.
Professor Betts acknowledged that in the context of the global displacement crisis, and compared to the numbers of refugees hosted by developing countries, 20,000 was a 'relatively small figure'. However, he said that the scheme was 'an important move in the sense that it establishes a tradition that Europe has rarely had of resettling refugees'.
The interview runs from 4:04-15:28.