Frans Timmermans, Vice-president of the European Commission, has warned that “infraction procedures” may be inflicted on European Union (EU) member-states that resist the imposition of compulsory migrant quotas.
Countries in central and eastern Europe which resisted the quotas when they were forced through have dug their heels in, and EurActiv reports that just 12,000 out of the 160,000 migrants due to be resettled have actually been relocated.
Mr Timmermans, a former foreign minister for the Netherlands, says that if “peer pressure” cannot bring rebellious countries to heel by March 2017, then financial penalties may be considered.
“That is the right moment to consider other options if they are necessary,” said the 55-year-old. “The Commission might start infraction procedures and we will certainly consider that.”
The Commission, a wholly unelected body which not only has the sole power to initiate EU legislation but also serves as the bloc’s executive, has previously suggested fining member-states 250,000 euros for every migrant they refuse to take.
Cecilia Wilkstroem, a senior member of the European Parliament from Sweden, has suggested it may be easier to simply withhold funds from difficult member-states, as enforcing fines could be “very complicated”.
The Chancellor has been demanding the load is spread across the EU ever since, with Italy, Greece and other so-called “transit countries” now burdened with a huge number of migrants who had hoped to proceed to generous welfare states such as Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdon.
Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, seen as the unofficial leader of the group of EU member-states which opposed open-door mass immigration policies in the first place, organised a referendum on the quotas in October 2016. Some 95 per cent of voters rejected them.
Orbán has predicted that 2017 will be a “year of rebellion” against the “globalist-liberal forces who represent the status quo”.
Orbán claims “believers in a United States of Europe” have used the issue of asylum to “stealthily erode” national sovereignty, and that the national rebellion against this tendency will be accompanied by an intellectual rebellion against political correctness.
“A year ago, no one would have thought that the United Kingdom would leave the European Union and that the Americans would reject the Clinton clan,” he said. “[This] year will be elections in Germany, the Netherlands, France. A lot of things can happen.”