European Union leaders sent out a bullying message to Poland, telling the nation it has one month to accept a certain number of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, or face sanctions.
Poland, the site of President Donald Trump’s rousing speech of a few weeks ago that focused heavy on freedom, has been reeling under the weight of EU demands to take in refugees from mostly Muslim nations.
The demands come by way of a migrant scheme that was pressed through the European Parliament in mid-2015, over the objections of several nations.
Poland has stood fast in resistance to the quotas. But now, the country’s going to face legal action from the EU if its leaders don’t comply.
Since several Eastern and Central European nations did not vote for the plan, they have challenged the EU in court. They now face sanctions if they do not comply.
“There is still time to change everything and come back to normality,” said EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday 26 July.
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The decision comes on the same day that an advocate general for the Court of Justice of the European Union said that the forced relocation plan was legal under EU law.
The policy did not need to be agreed on unanimously thanks to a mechanism called ‘qualified majority voting’, which weighs decisions in favour of larger nations such as Germany and France.
Last month, the outspoken prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, said if Brussels tries “to force the relocation programme on us at our next upcoming summit… I’ll exercise my veto.”
In October last year, 95 per cent of Hungarian voters rejected the migrant redistribution plan in a referendum called by Mr. Orbán.
Poland has vowed to follow and also hold a referendum on the issue, and the nation’s interior minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, said in May that taking in 6,000 asylum seekers would “certainly be much worse” for Poland than the threat of EU punishment.
The original intention of the plan was to alleviate the pressure on Italy and Greece by sending 120,000 migrants to various countries in the EU. Less than 20,000 have moved so far.