Hungary may face EU quota ultimatum, says report

EU

LaMography

Hungary and Poland may face an ultimatum this year from Germany, France and up to 21 other countries, making the two V4 countries either accept the European Union’s refugee relocation quota or leave the bloc, according to a report in U.K. newspaper The Times, citing an unnamed diplomatic source.

A refugee pats a volunteer on the back near Budapestʼs Eastern Railway Station in the summer of 2015, when refugees were waiting to travel west before the countryʼs southern border was fenced off. (Photo: LaMography / Moni Lazar)

According to The Times, under an article headlined “Take in migrants or leave, EU tells Hungary and Poland,” the unnamed diplomat, described as a senior diplomatic source from one of the six founding member states, said: “They will have to make a choice: are they in the European system or not? You cannot blackmail the EU, unity has a price.”

According to The Times, the European Court of Justice is expected to hold a hearing on the legality of the migrant quotas within weeks, with a judgment, expected to support the quotas, likely by the end of year.

“We are confident that the ECJ will confirm validation,” the source allegedly said. “Then they must abide by the decision. If they don’t then they will face consequences, both financial and political. No more opt-outs. There is no more ‘one foot in and one foot out.’ We are going to be very tough on this.”

Both Hungary and Poland have opposed proposals introduced by the EU in 2015 to relocate 160,000 refugees arriving in the region, many of them fleeing war in Syria.

The current Hungarian governing Fidesz-KDNP coalition has often voiced its opposition to the relocation quotas, adopting strong anti-Brussels communication. The latest step has been to launch a “stop Brussels” so-called “national consultation.”

However, although Hungaryʼs Eurosceptic government has vocally criticized Brussels, a study by KPMG and GKI released last week - and published by the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office - pointed to the serious EU dependence of the country, concluding that while the Hungarian economy grew by 4.6% in the 2006-2015 period, without EU funds sent to Hungary in the framework of the 2007-2013 funding cycle, GDP growth would have been only 1.8%.

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