The European Union has effectively threatened to cut funding to countries like Britain unless they agree to take more refugees.
Officials from Austria and Germany said they were considering a plan whereby EU grant spending would be focussed on countries that take in most migrants, something that would put pressure on Britain and Eastern European nations that have so far refused to take part in migrant quota schemes.
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said yesterday he was in favour of a scheme that would “reduce EU funding” to countries that took fewer migrants. He also indicated he could torpedo David Cameron’s EU renegotiation package unless Britain showed greater “solidarity” by accepting more migrants.
“When I think of the British, who have their own catalogue of demands, why should we do anything for them? Because, you have to say, solidarity is not a one-way street,” he told Austrian television.
German MEP Elmar Brok also told Tagesspiegel: “As a last resort, one could consider that there is more money from the EU Structural Funds for those member states that respond adequately to the situation of refugees.”
Although EU states already receive €6,000 for every migrant they take from Greece or Italy, but this plan could also see budgets for other projects boosted in countries that take the most migrants.
EU Commission spokeswomen Natasha Betraud said she could not rule out such scheme: “The Commission is open to all constructive ideas which would contribute to creating European solidarity and incentivise the states to take more refugees.”
The Telegraph reports that the EU has already opened 32 legal cases against countries over “substandard” asylum laws.
UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott last night called the plan “outrageous”. He told the Daily Mail: “This is gun-to-the-head politics from the EU and many of us don’t like it.”