In the quarrel over a fair redistribution of refugees within the European Union, the European Commission has decided to launch treaty violation proceedings against Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary. “It is time to act”, commented Dimitris Avramopoulus, EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, after the announcement of the decision, which could well lead to a lawsuit to be filed with the European Court of Justice.
The Commission, in charge of protecting the EU treaties, accuses the three countries of not complying with the EU interior ministers’ majority decision of September 2015, which agreed to redistribute some 160,000 refugees residing in Greece and Italy across EU member states until September 2016.
So far only 20,000 refugees were able to benefit from the redistribution plans. EU Commissioner Avramopoulus, who views the redistribution plan as a moral and legal imperative, insists that it is an important sign of solidarity with the southern European countries that are most affected by the influx of refugees due to their geographical position.
The interior ministers of Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary on the other hand reiterated their fierce opposition to any inner-EU redistribution quotas. “We stand firmly in our decision not to participate in the system of redistribution and the mandatory quotas it implies”, commented Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Polish president Andrzey Duda qualified the Commission’s action as an attempt of extortion.
The Commission, however, insists that the 2015 resolution is binding for all member states, and aims to enforce it. Legal action filed by Slovakia and Hungary against this decision is currently being tried in front of the European Court of Justice, but its chances for success are slim.