EU makes immigrant numbers voluntary, gives Hungary a pass


European Union leaders this morning scrapped national immigrant quota requirements but agreed that the 40,000 refugees already present in the EU would be distributed voluntarily – and that Hungary would be excepted from the distribution as the country already has a large number of asylum seekers, Hungarian online daily reported.

“All the member states promised to show solidarity and will participate in the program, with the only exception being Hungary, and to some extent Bulgaria, as they are under huge migrational pressure; therefore we will handle them as special cases,” President of the European Council Donald Tusk reportedly said following negotiations that started yesterday and went into the wee hours of this morning. He noted that the European Union is “aware of the fact that Hungary has seen the highest number of registered asylum seekers this year.”

Leaders reportedly agreed that, in addition to those 40,000 refugees who are already in the EU, another 20,000 would be accepted by the end of the year.

According to Origo, officials of the European Commission said that Hungary just needs to ask for help, regarding the influx of migrants, and the country will receive it. Unnamed Commission sources said that they were surprised to hear about the possible suspension of the Dublin III Regulation, noting that the EU is ready to help Hungary if it is made aware of what issues the country faces.

At the beginning of the week, the Hungarian government reportedly announced that it had suspended the EU’s asylum measure Dublin III Regulation, which led to Europe-wide criticism overnight. Later, Hungarian officials said that the country still abides by the Dublin III Regulation, however, it asked for patience from Austria in sending back refugees who entered the EU through Hungary.

At the summit, European Parliament President Martin Schultz reportedly said that “those who believe that migration is a type of problem that can be solved with closing the borders are not saying the truth”.  Although they did not name names, Schultz may have been aiming his comment at Hungaryʼs planned fence along the Serbian border. Schultz earlier initiated a call with PM Viktor Orbán following his earlier comment that the death penalty could be kept "on the agenda". 

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