The European Union’s plan to redistribute migrants from Italy and Greece continues to flounder as new reports show only 10 per cent of the target number have been accepted by other countries.
Handelsblatt reports that of the nations who are obliged by the EU asylum policy to accept the forced redistribution of migrants, only Poland and Hungary, who have fiercely opposed the policy, have refused to accept any. Last year, the Hungarian government asked the people of Hungary through a referendum their opinion on the issue and received overwhelming support for the government’s policy on not accepting the redistribution of migrants.
So far, a total of 16,340 migrants of the 160,000 target has been redistributed among the other EU member states. The redistribution programme was originally meant to relieve Greece and Italy which have become the end point for many migrants as borders of neighbouring countries have been enforced.
The programme, which is supposed to end in September, is looking more and more likely that it will not meet the 160,000 person target. The EU has also been working with countries in the region like Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon to take in migrants, but a spokesman from the EU commission claimed that neither Poland nor Hungary were involved in that programme either.
As a result of their refusal to take in migrants, as well as a recently adopted policy of detaining asylum seekers while their asylum claims were being processed, the Hungarian government has been threatened by the EU. The political bloc has demanded that Hungary and Poland take in more migrants and went as far as to threaten the countries with expulsion from the EU itself.
A senior diplomatic source told The Times: “They will have to make a choice: are they in the European system or not? You cannot blackmail the EU, unity has a price.”
The United Nations has urged the EU to move in the opposite direction when it comes to Hungary and said the bloc should not be sending migrants because they claim conditions for migrants are deteriorating and say there have been reports of abuse.
Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said: “I urge states to suspend any Dublin transfer of asylum-seekers to this country until the Hungarian authorities bring their practices and policies in line with European and international law.”
Various pro-migrant NGOs have made claims that police and border control agents have systematically abused migrants along the Hungarian-Serbian border. The Hungarian government has denied the abuse, though there have been a handful of cases where police have been investigated and fined for their actions.
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at email@example.com