Spain says EU must consider unemployment more when distributing refugees

BERLIN (Reuters) - Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo criticized the weighting Brussels gives to criteria for distributing refugees in a German newspaper interview, saying unemployment and migration policy measures were not sufficiently considered. The European Commission has listed gross domestic product, population and unemployment as well as the number of asylum applications a country has received and resettlement places it has offered as factors to determine how to distribute refugees across the EU. "The first two criteria are more strongly weighted. In my opinion unemployment and migration policy measures are not sufficiently taken into consideration," Garcia-Margallo said in comments due to be published in German newspaper Die Welt on Thursday. "That's because if unemployment is as high as it is now in Spain, at 22 percent, I can't offer people a fair chance of integration here," he added. Garcia-Margallo also said Spain had invested a lot of money in recent years and was cooperating with countries of origin such as Mauritania, Senegal and Morocco to control immigration. "Yes, we need to be involved in dealing with the problem - it's a European problem. But the criteria for distributing refugees must be fair." (Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)