This week’s meeting of EU interior ministers revealed the huge division between member states.
They only managed to formally adopt an existing political agreement to voluntarily relocate some 40,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy.
Central and eastern European countries oppose mandatory quotas.
“The situation is as follows: countries that resist quotas – nothing happens to them. The refugees just pass on through and that is why we have to talk about consequences. These are often countries, that receive lots of structural aid from the European Union. Juncker suggested – and I think he is absolutely right – that they should get less aid from the structural aid fund,” said Thomas de Maizière, the German interior minister.
The UK is not taking part in the EU’s relocation, but it says take in 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.
“We have three categories here,” said Marc Pierini of Carnegie Europe.
“Germany is on its own with its considerable financial muscle. You have those which follow Germany – France, the UK, but there the numbers are much less. Then you have those who refuse to play ball: Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Denmark.
Germany has called for an emergency EU summit to be held on the migration issue next week.