UK News 24 – WWR.
The EU’s plan to resettle 160,000 asylum seekers across the bloc as part of a compulsory quota system has become a “farce” according to critics, with less than 6,000 people actually relocated, one-year after the proposals were announced.
After initial plans to relocate 240,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other member states were scaled back to 160,000, EU officials have so far only managed to move a very limited number people as part of the program.
“On the one-year anniversary of the EU plan to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy, the first countries of arrival, the scheme must be judged a farce,” said Philippe Dam, spokesperson for Human Rights Watch (HRW).
One of the main factors behind the failure of the relocation plan to date is the political opposition in some member states, who argue that national governments, and not Brussels, should be in control of migration policies.
Chief among the critics has been the Visegrad 4 group of Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic, who have rejected the notion of a compulsory relocation system.
Slovakia, which currently holds the EU presidency, and Hungary have both filed legal action against the EU over the matter in the European Court of Justice, while Hungary last weekend held a referendum against the quota system.
While not enough people voted to validate the referendum, of the people who did take part in the vote, 98 percent agreed that the Hungarian government should reject the relocation plan.
And despite the European Commission stating that “significant progress” was being made towards the plans, the political criticism, along with the UK and Denmark’s actions in opting out of the relocation system, led Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico to say the proposals were “politically finished.”
Damage to EU Unity
Instead of uniting the EU and establishing a common asylum seeker policy across the bloc, the quota proposals seem to have created more division between member states, with growing divides on how to handle issues related to the migration crisis.
While some countries have been accused of engaging in xenophobia and not pulling their weight on the issue of refugee relocation, many have defended their stance, arguing that the arrival of significant numbers of refugees into Europe will place huge social and economic strain on communities.