February 9, 2017

European Commission threatens countries refusing to take refugees with sanctions

The European Union warned that in case the member states refuse to accept refugees staying in Greece and Italy according to quotas, the next month it will consider punishment, Euractiv reports. 

European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans criticized the EU for the fact that only 12,000 of the 160,000 Syrian and other refugees were resettled from Greece and Italy so far.

 He said that Brussels still hopes to persuade the recalcitrant countries, but in case there is no progress in this issue by the next report of the European Commission in March, the sanctions will be considered. 

“That is the right moment to consider other options if they are necessary. The Commission might start infraction procedures and we will certainly consider that,” he said. 

The EU countries can be hit with large financial penalties. Timmermans added that it was “highly unfair” to leave Greece and Italy one on one with the migration issue. 

The acceptance of migrants is especially opposed in the Eastern European states, where there is resistance to Muslim immigration. Hungary and Slovakia proposed to pay “solidarity” contributions instead of accepting migrants.