Updated 8:13 PM
The European Commission urged EU member states Thursday to help southern Europe confront a massive influx of asylum seekers and illegal migrants, saying solidarity and a harmonised asylum system were needed.
Member states ought to be able to decide voluntarily to take in refugees, but the Commission "will make an effort to provide financial help to EU states that agree to resettle these refugees," European Security Commissioner Jacques Barrot said at a meeting of EU justice and home affairs ministers in Stockholm.
Swedish Justice Minister Tobias Billström commented that there was considerable agreement on practical cooperation, with the starting point that asylum seekers must receive equal treatment in all EU countries.
There was also heated discussion on the adoption of what is known as the Stockholm Programme, where Sweden envisages the adoption of a common refugee policy for the Union. But how realistic an objective is it?