Amnesty International: Hungary, Poland fail to accept asylum-seekers
EU member states have fulfilled less than a third of asylum-seeker relocation commitments, with Hungary and Poland refusing to accept any, Amnesty International’s Brussels office said on Monday, a day before the expiry of the EU relocation scheme deadline.
The AI noted in a press release that
the two year period in which EU countries have pledged to relocate asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece comes to a close on 26 September 2017.
“Two years after this scheme was agreed on, most EU member states have fundamentally failed refugees and asylum-seekers, shirking their responsibilities and leaving thousands abandoned in Italy and Greece,” said Iverna McGowan, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.
AI said that Spain had fulfilled just 13.6 percent of its quota, while Belgium had fulfilled 25.6 percent. The Netherlands has fulfilled 39.6 percent of the target it committed to, and Portugal 49.1 percent, it said.
The only EU country that has fulfilled its quota is Malta,
AI said, adding that Norway and Lichtenstein opted in to the scheme voluntarily, and had both fulfilled their commitments to relocate 1,500 and 10 asylum-seekers, respectively.
Slovakia, which unsuccessfully challenged along with Hungary the relocation scheme in the European Court, has only accepted 16 out of the 902 asylum-seekers it was assigned, and the Czech Republic only 12 of 2,691, said AI.
It called on governments of EU states “to continue to relocate those already eligible, in line with their obligations” after the passing of the deadline set in the scheme by other ways such as granting them working visa or through family reunification.
Júlia Iván, the director of AI Hungary, said it was “particularly painful” to see that Hungary had failed to accept one single asylum-seeker.
Hungary has not only failed a legal obligation, but has lost a 6,000 euro EU subsidy it would have been entitled to receive per asylum-seeker, she said. The total amount of 2.4 billion forints (EUR 7.7m) Hungary could have received from Brussels would have been more than the total cost of catering for all of the asylum-seekers during a whole year, she said in a statement.
Photo: MTI/EPA/A. Carrasco Ragel