EC urges Hungary to meet refugee obligations

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LaMography

The European Commission has urged Hungary, Poland and Austria to meet their legal obligations in related to the relocation of refugees having arrived in the European Union, according to a press statement issued by the EC today.

Photo: LaMography

“Although most Member States are now active and pledging and relocating regularly, Hungary, Poland and Austria remain the only Member States that have not relocated a single person. This is in breach of their legal obligations, the commitments taken towards Greece and Italy and the fair sharing of responsibility,” the press statement notes.

The statement calls on “Hungary and Poland to start pledging and relocating immediately, the Czech Republic to restart relocation without delay, and Austria, which has now started pledging from Italy, to start pledging from Greece.”

The statement notes that Member States have applied “increased efforts” in relocating a total number of 18,418 refugees in 2016 and 2017.

“The results so far prove that if there is will and determination of Member States, relocation can work. The success of the relocation scheme cannot depend only on just a few,” said Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship. “Solidarity in legal, political and moral terms is not susceptible to different interpretations. I call on those Member States who have systematically failed to deliver on their obligations to start doing so at once. The overall figures on resettlement show what strengthened EU-level cooperation and coordination can do in practice, and it is high time we achieved the same for relocation.”

Commissioner’s statements branded an ‘invitation’

György Bakondi, Chief Security Advisor to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Tuesday described earlier statements by Avramopoulos as an “invitation to migrants,” according to official government website kormany.hu.

Talking on state-owned public service news channel M1, Bakondi said that statements of the commissioner indicating that it is EU members’ “moral obligation” to participate in the blocʼs relocation scheme “reassure migrants that there is a place for everyone in Europe.” Bakondi insisted that this is not true, but the “suction effect” of statements such as these has been quite evident since 2015, kormany.hu reported.

According to kormany.hu, Bakondi also said that EU officials have not been elected to “threaten” member states with severe sanctions from time to time, adding that it would be wiser to consider why some member states are reluctant to fulfill the mandatory quotas.

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