European Union takes member states to court for failing to meet migrant quotas

European Union takes member states to court for failing to meet migrant quotas

The EU took the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to the bloc's top court Thursday over their refusal to accept quotas for asylum-seekers, setting up a new clash between Brussels and key eastern states.

Under the plan, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic were supposed to take in a combined 10,000 people.

The move shows the determination in Brussels to enforce the controversial scheme launched at the height of the migrant crisis in 2015 to share 160,000 refugees around the bloc and ease the burden on Greece and Italy.

The EU Commission launched infringement procedures against the three countries in June and twice demanded an explanation for the non-compliance.

Newly elected premier Andrej Babiš said it was wrong to force migrants on unwilling nations, while his spokesman denounced the quota system as "interfer [ence] in the Czech Republic's internal affairs".

The plan never worked well and, as of last week, only around 32,000 refugees had been relocated. "That's not what we want", said commission Vice President Frans Timmermans.

"Going to court is always the instrument of last resort".

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"We hope we still find a way out through an act of participation by these three countries". In 2015, the IOM estimated more than 1 million people entered Europe, mostly from Syria, Eritrea and Iraq.

Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski also pointed to the fact Poland issued more than a million work permits a year ago alone for migrants from the country's conflict-stricken neighbour Ukraine.

Budapest faced a triple legal whammy from Brussels on Thursday, with the European Commission also taking Hungary to the ECJ over a crackdown on education and foreign-backed civil society groups that critics say targets United States billionaire George Soros.

Reacting to the EC's latest decision at a press conference in Brussels, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said the mandatory resettlement quotas are impossible to implement, unreasonable and a violation of European Union rules, and vowed that the government will defend its position before the CJEU.

In both cases, Hungary has failed to address European Union concerns about the laws or amend the legislation to bring it in line with European Union standards.

Earlier this year Soros accused the Orban government of building a "mafia state" in Hungary.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban considers Mr Soros a key political foe, mainly due to their diverging views on migration.

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