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Czech PM Sobotka; EU's migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos

EU Commission to sue Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic over migrant quotas

The European Commission has launched legal procedures against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, for refusing to take in asylum seekers flooding into the EU as a result of German chancellor Angela Merkel's 2015 "Open Door" policy.

Published: June 15, 2017, 8:08 am

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    Brussels

    The Commission is furious because the three EU members “have not yet relocated a single person” it said in a statement. Brussels’ confidence has been boosted by the victory of pro-EU French President Emmanuel Macron.

    “I regret to see that, despite our repeated calls to pledge to relocate, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland have not yet taken the necessary action,” the EU’s migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Reuters reported.

    “Europe is not only about requesting funds or ensuring security. Europe is also about sharing difficult moments and challenges,” Avramopoulos said.

    He warned that the Commission would therefore launch its so-called infringement procedures against the three. But economically and politically struggling EU is unlikely to be able to break the impasse during meetings next week in Brussels, according to Reuters.

    Poland and Hungary refused to take in anyone after Brussels in 2015 decided to relocate migrants from influx-troubled states Italy and Greece to other European countries. The Czech Republic accepted 12 people but has since said it would not welcome more.

    “The Czech Republic does not agree with the system of relocation,” Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in response to the Brussels plan to relocate migrants, calling it “dysfunctional”.

    “With regard to the worsened security situation in Europe and dysfunctionality of the quota system, it will not participate in it. The European Commission blindly insists on pushing ahead with dysfunctional quotas which decreased citizens’ trust in EU abilities and pushed back working and conceptual solutions to the migration crisis,” Sobotka said.

    All three countries are notedly among the very few who have been spared terror-related activities over the past two years.

    In September 2015, EU ministers cooked up a scheme to relocate over 100 000 migrants who have already reached the continent. The Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary opposed the Brussels scheme. Despite warnings from the Commission, Budapest is determined to tighten its policy towards asylum seekers in continuing its border fence plan.

    In a separate legal battle on the matter, Hungary and Slovakia have challenged the relocation agreement in a top EU court, with an initial ruling due next month.

    Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymanski told state TV that the action “unnecessarily heats up political tensions, of which there are already too many in the European Union”.

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