World

Many EU nations oppose quota scheme deemed key to sharing refugee burden

Migrants wait to disembark from the Iceland Coast Guard vessel Tyr, at the Messina harbor, Sicily, southern Italy, Wednesday, May 6, 2015. This weekend saw a dramatic increase in rescues as smugglers in Libya took advantage of calm seas and warm weather to send thousands of would-be refugees out into the Mediterranean in overloaded rubber boats and fishing vessels. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Migrants wait to disembark from the Iceland Coast Guard vessel Tyr, at the Messina harbor, Sicily, southern Italy, Wednesday, May 6, 2015. This weekend saw a dramatic increase in rescues as smugglers in Libya took advantage of calm seas and warm weather to send thousands of would-be refugees out into the Mediterranean in overloaded rubber boats and fishing vessels. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)  (The Associated Press)

A European Union proposal to establish a quota system obliging member countries to share the burden of settling refugees is likely to be rejected.

Slovakia and Estonia are among those that have publicly objected to a quota system, which would require unanimous agreement among the 28 EU nations.

"The Slovak Interior Ministry currently refuses binding quotas on migrants," it said in a statement to The Associated Press. Estonia said it prefers voluntary relocation and resettlement for refugees.

The EU's executive Commission was to propose the plan next Wednesday as part of a strategy to cope with thousands of migrants fleeing conflict and poverty for better lives in Europe.

More than 10,000 migrants have been rescued recently crossing the Mediterranean in unseaworthy boats. Some 1,700 are feared dead.