Juncker: EU should be able to take in 2 million refugees

The European Union should be able to absorb 2 million refugees, the leader of the bloc's executive said Monday, despite tensions among member states over the arrival of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers last year.

"It has to be possible, in a continent of 508 million people, to adequately integrate 2 million refugees," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a speech to European parliamentary leaders in Luxembourg.

Juncker added that he is "embarassed" when he talks to leaders in Jordan and Lebanon, which are poorer than most EU member states yet have taken in more refugees than the 28-country bloc.

Migration has become an increasingly sensitive topic in the EU, dividing member states and fueling support for far-right and anti-immigration politicians.

More than 1 million migrants and asylum seekers reached Europe's shores in 2015, although not all of them are expected to be allowed to stay. Over the course of last year, more than 330,000 people were granted asylum in the EU, with many applications still pending.

Another 190,000 people arrived in Europe by sea this year. The flow has thinned, however, thanks to a migration-stemming deal between the EU and Turkey.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

More from Europe

Estonia, Lithuania sign defence deal with US after Trump bashes NATO

Estonia and Lithuania signed bilateral defence agreements with the US, just days after US-president elect Donald...

German artist fined 700 euros for doing push-ups on church altar

A 38-year-old man was fined 700 euros (750 dollars) by a German court on Tuesday for disrupting the practice of...

Putin accuses Obama administration of trying to delegitimize Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that the outgoing US presidential administration of Barack Obama has...

May vows to leave EU single market, remodel a "global Britain"

Britain's agreement to leave the European Union "cannot mean membership of the single market," Prime Minister...

Finally 'a bit more clarity' - German minister welcomes Brexit speech

Britain has "finally" laid out in more detail its EU exit plan, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says...