EU warns 3 countries of legal action over refugee plan
EU warns 3 countries of legal action over refugee plan
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15 June, 2017, 02:23
Together, nine central and eastern European countries were asked to shelter a total of 15,000 refugees but since the agreement was formed, Hungry and Poland have refused to shelter any asylum-seekers, while the Czech Republic has said it will not accept any more after welcoming just a dozen.
Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski hit out at the "illegal decision", insisting that most of those being relocated were migrants who should be sent home and not refugees needing global protection.
But Poland said it stands ready to take legal action of its own.
"Those that do not take part have to assume that they will be faced with infringement procedures", he was quoted as saying.
However, the European Commission has launched legal action against these three EU member states, claiming Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic have not "taken the necessary action" in dealing with migrants and refugees.
He said the Commission was therefore launching so-called infringement procedures against the three, a way for the executive arm to take to task countries that fail to meet their obligations.
On Monday, Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec told the Czech Press Agency (CTK) that any decision to punish the country over the quotas would lead to a loss of trust in the EU.
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"With regard to the worsened security situation in Europe and dysfunctionality of the quota system, it will not participate in it", Sobotka said after EU's announcement, according to Reuters. "The Czech Republic has received no-one since August 2016".
The council decisions require European Union countries to pledge available places for relocation every three months to ensure a swift and orderly relocation procedure. Prague has also come under pressure after effectively dropping out of the relocation plan.
The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary were outvoted at a meeting of the European Union countries' interior ministers in Brussels in September 2015 that approved the redistribution of 160,000 refugees across the European Union on the basis of mandatory quotas to help Italy and Greece that were hit by the migrant crisis most of all.
Avramopoulos, who is Greece's European commissioner, insisted those selected for the relocation scheme had all been carefully screened and identified as needing global protection.
The Czech Republic has taken only 12 refugees from Greece, although it ought to accept about 2,600 people by September according to the quotas.
Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania opposed the scheme two years ago but were overruled by a majority vote that is legally binding.
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