A group of 188 Eritreans are heading to Germany in the first big batch of refugee relocations from Italy to other EU countries.

The migrants danced and cheered before boarding buses on Tuesday taking them from the migrant center in Castelnuovo di Porto north of Rome to the airport. They were bound for Munich.

The transfer is the first tranche of the 500 people that Germany pledged in September to take monthly from Italy, which is on the front lines of the migrant crisis and has demanded that other EU countries help ease the burden.

A European Union plan calls for relocating 160,000 asylum-seekers by September 2017 from Italy and hard-hit Greece. But as of last week, only 1,549 refugees had been transferred from Italy and 5,437 from Greece.