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EU threat of legal action over slow relocation of refugees


brussels bureau

EU threat of legal action over slow relocation of refugees

EU countries opposed to migrant resettlement quotas have been issued with a warning.

The European Commissioner for migration issues has given Poland and Hungary one month to comply with the EU’s migrant relocation package or face legal action.

There is a target to relocate 160,000 refugees from Greece and Italy by September, but so far less than 20,000 have been moved to other EU states.

At a parliamentary debate on the issue, some MEPs called for punishment against reluctant countries.

Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, a Spanish centre-left MEP, told Euronews: “There has to be a legal response by the commission, which is the guardian of the treaties.

“Sanctions must be imposed on the member states who are simply lacking the political will to abide by the law.”

But one Hungarian MEP from Viktor Orban’s party argues relocation is counterproductive.

Kinga Gal told Euronews: “For them the quota means they’re allowed to come, because then they’ll be relocated.

“It’s an invitation for those hundreds of thousands of people, and also a chance for human traffickers to carry out more horrific acts.”

Talking to Euronews, the EU’s migration commissioner warned Hungary and Poland to comply, without naming them.

Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “If no action is taken within one month from now, then I will have to move forward by taking legal measures.”

However, the commissioner said he still hopes to be able to relocate asylum seekers from Italy and Greece who have the right to protection.