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EC launches infringement procedure against Hungary

Hungary, together with the Czech Republic and Poland, is facing an infringement procedure by the European Commission (EC) for refusing to participate in the EU-wide relocation of refugees, according to a press statement issued by the EC on Tuesday.

“I regret to see that, despite our repeated calls to pledge and relocate, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have not yet taken the necessary action. For this reason, the Commission has decided to launch infringement procedures against these three Member States,” Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said Tuesday during a press conference, according to a transcript of his speech. 

“There have been enough delays, and there have been enough discussions. It is time for action,” Avramopoulos said, adding that the EC has to “be fair” to all those European Union members who have fulfilled their obligations.

“I sincerely hope that these Member States can still reconsider their position and contribute fairly,” he added. “Europe is not only about requesting funds or ensuring security. Europe is also about sharing difficult moments and challenges.”

The procedure allows the EU to take legal action against the three nations, which could ultimately result in financial penalties imposed by the Court of Justice.

Szijjártó cries ‘blackmail’

Responding in Parliament yesterday, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó described the EC’s behavior as “un-European” and as “blackmail” that the Hungarian government will not yield to. He also stressed Hungary will not allow anyone to enter its territory “illegally.”

Szijjártó said the causes giving rise to the immigration crisis must be managed instead, according to official government website kormany.hu. He cited the main reason for the crisis as the terrorist organization Islamic State, against which an extremely broad international unity and collaboration has been forged. He also stressed that IS should be “fully destroyed.”

According to the minister, the global coalition led by the United States has achieved major results recently, having recaptured some 62% of the territories previously occupied by Islamic State in Iraq, and 30% in Syria, thereby liberating 4.1 million people. He noted that more than 500 Hungarian soldiers have served in Iraq to date, based on Parliament’s authorization granted in 2015.

“We all may be proud of the fact that we are among the 27 countries in the world which are sending real, flesh-and-blood soldiers to the international fight against terrorism,” he said.