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Migrants pull an overcrowded dinghy with Syrian and Afghan refugees arriving from the Turkish coasts to the Greek island of Lesbos. Photo: Santi Palacios / AP

The European Union announced it has set aside 500 million euros ($587 million) to resettle at least 50,000 more refugees over the next two years, per AP. The EU said it wants refugees in Libya, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia to be the priority to discourage migrant boats from making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing.

Why it matters: European countries are ultimately responsible for deciding their own resettlement numbers, and are not bound by the EU's pledge.

  • Key quote, from EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos: "Europe has to show that it is ready to share responsibility with third countries, notably in Africa. People who are in genuine need of protection should not risk their lives or depend on smugglers."
  • Take note: Brussels said it wants to ensure that unauthorized migrants are returned to their home countries more quickly. The AP notes that currently only around "one third of those deemed ineligible" are actually sent back. "We have to be clear and brutally honest, people who have no right to stay in Europe must be returned," Avramopoulos said.
  • Context: The EU has already resettled roughly 23,000 people from refugee camps in countries outside the EU under this mechanism. Turkey and Jordan, which were overwhelmed with people fleeing the war in Syria, had previously been the focus. Avramopoulos said resettlement from those areas will continue but there is now an "increased focus" on the countries from northern Africa.

Go deeper

32 mins ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.