Friday

22nd Jun 2018

Eastern EU states want common stance on asylum

  • Czech castle: Ministers from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, Slovakia, and Poland met in Prague on Monday (Photo: Florin Draghici)

Ministers from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland on Monday (21 September) said they want to reach "a common stance" with their counterparts on asylum.

The four oppose a binding quota system to distribute some 120,000 migrants from Italy, Greece, and Hungary across European member states.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

But others like Germany are backing a compulsory system.

Ministers are meeting in Brussels on Tuesday (22 September) in a second attempt to agree to the proposal, while on Wednesday, an emergency summit is due to be held in which leaders will discuss broader aspects of the asylum crisis.

The split in views has deepened over the past few weeks as tens of thousands of people continue to cross over the EU's external borders in the hopes of reaching states like Germany and Sweden.

Temporary border closures initially imposed by Germany triggered similar responses in Austria and elsewhere. The moves have raised fears that the EU's Schengen passport-free travel zone could be in jeopardy.

In Prague, Czech foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek attempted to assuage concerns, telling reporters "all of us who met here today are absolutely dedicated to reaching a common stance".

The scheme involves removing 54,000 asylum seekers from Hungary, 50,400 from Greece and 15,600 from Italy.

But Hungary has rejected it and has instead opted to seal its border with Serbia and pass a law that gives its army the right to use non-lethal force against refugees.

Last week's Hungarian border closure drove the refugees amassed at its border towards Croatia. Some 30,000 arrived in Croatia in just five days.

The piecemeal response has created scenes of chaos.

Croatia at first welcomed the migrants and allowed them to pass through, but Slovenia then imposed border control checks. Slovenia had also suggested opening up corridors to allow the migrants to pass. Croatia then escorted thousands to Hungary before Hungary closed the final stretch of border fencing.

The Czech Republic, for its part, says imposing binding quotas is illegal and has threatened to take the issue to the EU court of justice in Luxembourg.

In an op-ed in the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, Polish foreign minister Grzegorz Schetyna said the country is able to take in refugees but "on a voluntary basis".

Luxembourg's foreign minister Jean Asselborn, who is presiding the meeting in Brussels, said he would do everything in his powers to reach an agreement among all 28 member states.

EU's east-west migrant rift abates

EU summit expected to show tempers have cooled between some central European countries and their EU peers, weeks after a divisive debate on relocations.

Opinion

Fate of EU refugee deal hangs in the balance

Europe's choice is between unplanned, reactive, fragmented, ineffective migration policy and planned, regulated, documented movements of people, writes International Rescue Committee chief David Miliband.

Opinion

EU summit: migrants get a 'vote' too

Non-citizens from Nigeria to Afghanistan get a binding 'vote' on whatever the EU's internal debates submit to them. They will vote with their feet on whether to keep trying their luck when faced with a new system.

News in Brief

  1. Venice Commission: Hungary should repeal NGO law
  2. Trump threatens to slap 20 percent tariff on EU cars
  3. EU closes deficit procedure against France
  4. Romania's ruling party leader gets jail sentence
  5. EU states defer individual decisions on asylum reforms
  6. Commission opens case on Qatar gas flow
  7. EU adopts posted workers directive
  8. EU leaders to call for 'coordinated plan' on AI

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Latest News

  1. Migration row at centre of EU summit This Week
  2. Merkel's woes cast shadow on EU's future
  3. Europe's tech race - trying to keep pace with US and China
  4. Merkel and Juncker's mini-summit risks fiasco
  5. Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'
  6. How a US firm pushed for EU €2.1trn pension fund
  7. Commission defends Africa migrant plan ahead of summit
  8. Bavaria hijacks EU migration talks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us