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European Union sues member states over migrant relocation failure
07 December 2017, 11:36 | Erica Roy
A barbed wire is seen in front of a EU flag at an immigration reception centre in Bicske Hungary
The EU took the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to the bloc's top court Thursday over their refusal to accept quotas for asylum-seekers, setting up a new clash between Brussels and key eastern states.
In 2015, the European Union approved a plan in which all member states - other than Britain, Ireland and Denmark - had to accept a certain number of migrants after more than 500,000 entered the European Union that year.
But Hungary and Poland have taken none at all, while the Czech Republic has accepted 12.
"The replies received were again found not satisfactory and three countries have given no indication that they will contribute to the implementation of the relocation decision". "This is why the commission has chose to move to the next stage of the infringement procedure and refer the three member states to the Court of Justice of the European Union".
The plan never worked well and, as of last week, only around 32,000 refugees had been relocated.
Poland's rightwing government is also in the EU's legal crosshairs. This was announced at a briefing in Brussels, first Deputy Chairman of the European Commission Frans Timmermans.
"We hope we still find a way out through an act of participation by these three countries".
Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski also pointed to the fact Poland issued more than a million work permits a year ago alone for migrants from the country's conflict-stricken neighbour Ukraine.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told the BBC he opposed the relocation plan and that it fueled anti-migrant sentiment in the country.
Under the European Union law, the Commission has the power to take legal action against a member state which is not respecting its obligations.
The European commission - the executive arm of the EU - said Hungary had repeatedly failed to answer its concerns over both cases.
At the core of both laws are the Hungarian government's efforts to curtail the influence of Hungarian-American financier George Soros in Hungary.
We will remind, recently the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban said that Central Europe is the last place on the continent, "free migrants".
In June, Hungary approved a law aimed at forcing civil society groups receiving more than 24,000 euros ($26,000) annually in overseas funding to register as a "foreign-supported organisation", or face closure.
Many NGOs hit by the new law are partially funded by Mr Soros.
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