The European Commission has initiated infringement procedures against Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic for those countries’ failing to implement the community’s earlier decision on refugee quotas.
EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, in charge of migration issues, told a press conference on Tuesday that the commission was sending an official note to the three countries, which signals the start of proceedings in connection with the quota mechanism under which 120,000 asylum seekers would be redistributed. The mechanism was accepted by a majority vote of EU interior ministers in September 2015, with Hungary and others voting against.
In a statement, the commission said that the body had repeatedly called on members that had not received any asylum seekers from other countries, yet Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic have failed to take measures accordingly.
Avramopoulos said that the community would not leave members on the outskirts of the EU with no assistance, but insisted that each country must participate in the resettlement mechanism. Participation is not a matter of choice but an obligation based on a community decision; EU members must be loyal not only to migrants fleeing from war but to fellow members, too, he said.
The commissioner voiced hope that governments of the three countries would review their position and in the end “common sense and a European spirit” will prevail.
Asked about the matter, ruling Fidesz group leader Lajos Kósa said earlier in the day that the quota decision “cannot be implemented” due to “a huge number of open issues”. He added that “no European Union member has implemented it”.
Kósa also said that infringement procedures are “an accepted institution” with “several hundred” launched each year, and insisted that the number of such procedures against Hungary did not exceed the European average.
“The procedure will be the same as another time: there will be a debate, going through all stages of the procedure, and in the end – if the case reaches that stage – the European Court will decide,” Kosa said. “If the EU enforced the rules, order would be restored and there would be no migration crisis,” he added.