Friday

20th Oct 2017

EU stands by unloved migrant quotas

  • "Solidarity has to be felt, the application of community law is not optional," the commission says (Photo: Reuters)

Solidarity and the EU relocation system for asylum seekers are two different things, a European Commission spokesman has said.

"Solidarity has to be felt. It has to come from the heart, it's not something that can be dictated by law or by directive. But this has nothing to do with the application of community law, which is not optional," Margaritis Schinas told journalists on Monday (19 September).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He had been asked whether the two-year plan to relocate 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece to other EU countries that was launched a year ago was still binding or not.

Last week, in his state of the Union speech, commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said that "when it comes to managing the refugee crisis … solidarity must be given voluntarily."

At Monday's commission press point, Schinas that Juncker's words did not mean a change of position by the EU executive.

"Relocation obligations are enshrined in European law," he said, adding that the plan was "under implementation", even though "not at the rate we would have liked."

When it presented its relocation plan last year, the commission said it was "a solidarity mechanism for all member states."

In May, in its proposal to reform the Dublin asylum system, the commission said member states who do not accept to relocate asylum seekers would have to pay €250,000 per person in their unfulfilled quota.

"There's simply no way around it: whenever a member state is overwhelmed, there must be solidarity and a fair sharing of responsibility within the EU," commission vice-president Frans Timmermans said at the time.

On Monday, Schinas declined to say whether the commission still stuck to that position. He said the proposal was "subject to colegislation" and was "not at all comparable" with the current relocation mechanism.

On Friday, the 27 EU leaders meeting in Bratislava said in a common declaration that EU consensus needed to be broadened, "including on how to apply the principles of responsibility and solidarity in the future."

The declaration was agreed under pressure by the so-called Visegrad Four countries - Hungary, Slovakia, the Cezch Republic, and Poland - who said in a joint statement that "migration policy should be based on the principle of 'flexible solidarity'."

Two members of the group, Slovakia and Hungary, have refused to implement the relocation mechanism agreed last year, with the cases due in courts.

The commission spokesman also declined to say whether "voluntary" and "flexible" solidarity are the same policy concepts.

EU seeks to shut down Libya sea route

EU leaders are aiming to reach a consensus on the Dublin asylum reforms by early next year, announced European Council chief Donald Tusk. But first, they want to shut down the Central Mediterranean route from Libya.

MEPs: EU migrant quotas do have a future

The EU Parliament's lead negotiator on the Dublin rule, a key asylum regulation that has sparked a political clash among EU states, is now demanding for an automatic and permanent relocation scheme.

MEPs: EU migrant quotas do have a future

The EU Parliament's lead negotiator on the Dublin rule, a key asylum regulation that has sparked a political clash among EU states, is now demanding for an automatic and permanent relocation scheme.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  2. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving up to 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  3. European Jewish CongressEJC Applauds the Bulgarian Government for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  4. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  5. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  8. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  9. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  10. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  11. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  12. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People