GENEVA, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) urged EU members Tuesday to fully set in motion a two-year plan agreed upon in 2015 aiming to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers mainly from Greece and Italy to other EU countries.
According to the agency's figures, only 3 percent of the original target, representing 4,776 asylum-seekers, have been relocated from both southern European states since last September.
With the number of pledges and implementation efforts failing to meet targets, agency figures show that 3,712 and 1,064 asylum-seekers have been relocated from Greece and Italy respectively.
While calling on EU members to increase pledges, UNHCR urged the governments to accelerate the registration and transfer of candidates and increase the number of nationalities which have access to the scheme.
The UN refugee agency also pressed participating states to enhance cooperation with Greek and Italian authorities and lower the threshold for relocation candidates.
"Currently, only asylum-seekers of nationalities with an average recognition rate of 75 percent or higher at the EU level are eligible for relocation," the UN body explained.
"Based on the latest available EU data, this threshold excludes, for example, Iraqis, who previously met the threshold, as their average recognition rate has fallen to 73 percent,"it warned.
Over 1 million refugees and migrants reached European shores last year, mainly arriving in Greece and Italy.