More than 18,000 Migrants Have Been Relocated to EU Countries, Avramopoulos Says

Αssociated Press

In this photo taken on Thursday, March 16, 2017 African migrants pray at a small Greek Orthodox church in Moria village, on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

BRUSSELS - The European Union's landmark migrant plan to share 160,000 refugees in Italy and Greece among their EU partners is likely to result in less than 40,000 people finding new homes by the September deadline.

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said Tuesday that more than 18,000 migrants have been relocated and that 12,500 people in Greece and some 4,000 in Italy are eligible to go.

He said those 16,500 people can be relocated by September, but he noted that some countries haven't relocated a single person, "in breach of their obligations."

Avramopoulos told EU lawmakers that the plan, launched in September 2015, "is vital for the success of our (migrant) policy."

Hungary and Poland voted against the plan, but were on the losing side and refuse to take part.