Wednesday, 18 July 2018

ForMin: EC's lawsuit against Czech shunning of quotas is no drama

ČTK |
6 December 2017

Brussels, Dec 5 (CTK) - The lawsuit the EC is expected to file this week against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland over their refusal to join the migrant quotas mechanism is no surprise for Prague, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said Tuesday, adding that the issue is not dramatic.

The EC will very probably decide to file the lawsuit with the European Court of Justice on Wednesday or Thursday, diplomatic sources told CTK earlier on Tuesday.

In the past three months, last time in mid-November, the EC repeatedly urged the three countries to change their approach and accept the programme of redistribution of thousands of migrants from Italy and Greece the EU approved in 2015.

The EC would not confirm the information about the planned lawsuit on Tuesday.

Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) told journalists in Brussels that the issue is not that dramatic.

"I think we will have a lot of time to discuss the issue with the EC," Zaoralek said.

He said Europe's attention is now switching from migrant redistribution to the border protection.

"At present, the issue is no longer the quotas or migrant distribution, but Europe's capability of tackling similar waves in future and not allowing illegal migration," Zaoralek said.

That is why Prague should negotiate with the EC in this respect, seek a conciliatory solution and settle the controversy in a conciliatory way, he said, adding that he has registered accommodating signals on the part of the EC.

The EU one-off agreement projected a relocation of up to 160,000 asylum seekers from the most migrant-burdened member countries, Italy and Greece, but only some 31,000 people have been accepted by other EU countries so far.

The EU's central and east European members, including Prague, were opposed to the quota mechanism that made it through against their will.

Slovakia and Hungary challenged the quotas at the European Court of Justice, but their lawsuits did not succeed.

Prague, Warsaw and Budapest have repeatedly criticised the quota system as ineffective.

Some time ago, the EC launched proceedings against the three states over their failure to offer acceptance of migrants within the quota system.

Following a few procedural steps and a mutual exchange of positions, the EC faces a decision on whether to bring the issue to the European court, which could impose a high fine on the countries involved or repeated penalty fees until they start meeting their duty.

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