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EU Refugee Quota Scheme Unravels Amid National Opposition

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Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia have rejected EU plans to introduce a quota system that would oblige countries to share the burden of refugees, reports the Associated Press.

The countries are objecting publicly to the proposed quota system which requires the unanimous agreement of all 28 EU member states in order to be enacted. They favour voluntary relocation and resettlement of refugees.

The European Commission was to propose the quota system next week as part of a wider strategy to help Italy, Greece and Malta cope with thousands of migrants. The U.N. refugee agency reports that over 26,000 migrants have arrived by sea in Italy alone so far this year.

Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola said:

“We need a binding solidarity mechanism that allows for the fair distribution of asylum seekers among member states once a certain threshold has been reached. This is not a challenge that Italy or Malta or Greece should face alone.”

In an interview with the Hungarian national radio station, Kossuth Rádió, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said:

“This is not solidarity. It is an unfair, unrighteous and dishonourable proposal which we cannot accept, it is a crazy idea for someone to let refugees into their own country, not defend their borders, and then say: ‘Now I will distribute them among you, who did not want to let anyone in’.”

Dr Philippe De Bruycker, Jean Monnet Chair for European Law on Immigration & Asylum, points out that the Lisbon Treaty contains a provision that immigration policies “shall be governed by the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility.” He is urging the European Commission to set a new precedent by employing procedures already used in respect of state aid and budgetary rules to enforce breaches of EU migration agreements.


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