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Leonid Bershidsky

Europe's Bold Refugee Proposal

The EU's plan to handle the influx from Libya could become a global blueprint.
Acts of desperation.

Acts of desperation.

Photographer: Adam Berry/Getty Images

The plan the European Union announced Wednesday to tackle the Mediterranean migrant crisis contains a breakthrough. EU leaders have proposed a resettlement quota system that would distribute asylum seekers according to the ability of member states to accept them. If Europe gets this  right, it could become a blueprint for a global system.

Let's forget for a moment that, according to the plan, Europe would resettle just 20,000 people in the next two years, though as many as 1 million refugees may be ready to set off for Europe from Libya. This is the first time the EU has tried to establish a quota system, and it's the principle that matters.