EU gives countries one month to comply, or face sanctions
BRUSSELS (ChurchMilitant.com) - The European Union is threatening to sanction Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic if they do not yield to its demands on migrants.
The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, last week launched an "infringement procedure" against the three central European member states, declaring they have one month to comply or face punishment.
The European Court of Justice is siding with the Commission, ruling members are bound by E.U. law to accept the relocation plan.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants have landed in Italy and Greece since 2015, and E.U. officials have sought to relieve the pressure on the bloc's southern periphery by transferring migrants deeper into Europe. The migration relocation plan was pushed through the European Parliament in September 2015 against the wishes of several member states.
The Commission singles Sweden out for praise for opening its doors to migrants, but critics of the relocation policy note problems, stirring in the Scandinavian state.
Many Swedes are becoming discontented with the rising number of migrants and a sharp rise in gang activity, sexual assaults and other crime reported in cities with large migrant populations.
Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic point to the problems in Sweden to bolster arguments that they are not bound to admit migrants. Such is counter to their national interest, they say, and runs counter to the will of their people.
In June, the Czech Republic canceled its participation in the resettlement program, citing safety concerns.
"Due to the aggravated security situation and the dysfunctionality of the whole system," Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec announced, "the government approved ... a proposal to halt this system for the Czech Republic."
Immediately after the Czech withdrawal, the government of Poland vowed the question of migrant admittance would be decided by the country's voters
"The public's voice will be heard," declared President Andrzej Duda.
Reiterating his government's position on the issue, Duda affirmed, "Poland does not consent to the forced relocation of refugees on our territory."
Praised by President Trump for its role in preserving Western civilization, Poland is already facing E.U. censure due to recent judicial reforms intended to purge its court system of leftist, communist-era judges. Even so, Polish officials say, E.U. sanctions pose less of a threat to the country than thousands of migrants from the Middle East.
Like its neighbors to the north, Hungary is holding out against the E.U. migrant mandate. In June, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán warned Brussels that if the E.U. tries "to force the relocation program on us," he would exercise Hungary's veto.
In October 2016, Orbán organized a national referendum on whether the country should obey E.U. directives on migrants. Of those voting, 96 percent rejected the relocation program.
Several of Hungary's leading Catholic officials are allies of the prime minister, whose government has enacted new laws, prohibiting border crossings and criminalizing the transport of migrants inside the country.
"Those arriving have been raised in another religion and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians but Muslims," Orbán wrote in September 2015. "This is an important question because Europe and European identity are rooted in Christianity."