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EU to launch action against 3 countries over refugee plan

14 Juin 2017

13 June 2017Dismayed over the failure of some member states to accept asylum-seekers, the European Commission has made a decision to up the ante and send "letters of formal notice to Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, according to Reuters, citing multiple sources".

But the three countries immediately rebuffed the threat and appeared ready to go to court.

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Since January, other countries within the bloc have relocated nearly 10,300 people from Italy and Greece, according to the commission.

It was seen as a major plank of the EU's migration policy, and was lauded as a pan-European show of solidarity in 2015 when more than a million people arrived in Europe seeking sanctuary or jobs.

"It is entirely feasible to relocate all eligible people from Greece and Italy before September".

European Union countries agreed to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers between them - though Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary voted against accepting mandatory quotas. "Let's hope that not only reason but also the European spirit will prevail", Avramopoulos told reporters, lamenting that the three "have not done anything for more than one year". Check out the latest defense news.

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said his government had been active on the crisis but tweeted: "Quotas are not working".

The Czech Republic was supposed to accept some 2,600 refugees but so far has taken only 12, all of them from Greece.

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Waszczykowski said that the Commission's legal action would likely take years to resolve at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

The European Commission headed by Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to make a decision on legal action on Tuesday, with a formal announcement on Wednesday.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said his government would "not give in to blackmail".

"The European Commission blindly insists on pushing ahead with dysfunctional quotas which decreased citizens' trust in EU abilities and pushed back working and conceptual solutions to the migration crisis", the news agency cited Sobotka as saying in an email statement.

If the Commission is not satisfied with the answer of the member state, the Commission may then send a "Reasoned Opinion", calling on the member state to inform the Commission of the measures taken to comply within a specified period, usually two months.

While Slovakia has only accepted 16 refugees out of its pledge of 902, the EC will not move against the country because its pledge to accept more is still pending, writes Express.

Poland's Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski hit out at the "illegal decision", insisting that most of those being relocated were migrants who should be sent home and not refugees needing worldwide protection.

Germany, France, the Netherlands and Finland have so far been the countries taking in the largest number of refugees - Germany received more than 5,600, France around 3,500.