MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The European Commission said Tuesday it was launching infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland over them failing to take in refugees under the quota plan.
On May 16, the European Commission issued a progress report on relocation and resettlement, stressing that some countries, in particular, Hungary, Poland and Austria were the only EU members that had not relocated a single person, while the Czech Republic remained inactive for a year.
"Over the last months, the Commission has repeatedly called on those Member States that have not yet relocated a single person, or that are not pledging to relocate, to do so. Regrettably, despite these repeated calls, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, in breach of their legal obligations stemming from the Council Decisions and their commitments to Greece, Italy and other Member States, have not yet taken the necessary action. Against this background, and as indicated in the previous Relocation and Resettlement Report, the Commission has decided to launch infringement procedures against these three Member States," the statement read.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said, referring to the commission’s decision, that the European Union could achieve results in the relocation process only if every member state contributes a fair share to the scheme, stressing that Brussels will not make any exceptions.
“Hungary has never pledged or relocated. Poland pledged in December 2015, but has not relocated anyone and has not pledged since. As for the Czech Republic, it has not made any new pledges since May 2015 and not relocated anyone since August 2016. The relocation scheme legally obliges all member states to pledge at least every three months,” Avramopoulos said at the press conference, devoted to the progress made under the European Agenda on Migration.
The EU commissioner praised Austria and Slovakia as the countries has recently pledged to relocate refugees.
According to the EU infringement procedures, if the member states do not adapt their policy in accordance with Commission’s complaints, the European Commission can file a lawsuit in the European Court of Justice.
On Monday, a meeting between the members of the Visegrad Group, which consists of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, took place in Warsaw. After the meeting, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said that the European Commission has no right to punish the EU states for refusal to accept refugees, stressing that the relocation scheme is not working as the EU countries were obligated to host 160,000 refugees, but only 20,000 of them have been relocated since May 2016.
The European Union has been struggling to manage a massive refugee crisis which escalated in 2015 with hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East and North Africa seeking asylum in EU member states.