EU takes Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic to court over refugee quotas
The refugee relocation scheme was introduced in 2015 to relieve the burden on Greece and Italy, where migrants arrived in huge numbers, many of them fleeing the war in Syria. Prague, Budapest and Warsaw opposed the scheme from the start.
Hungary and Poland have taken no asylum seekers, while the Czech Republic has accepted 12 relocations from Greece. Under the EU scheme, they were supposed to take in more than 10,000 refugees between them.
The three countries "remain in breach of their legal obligations" and have given "no indication" that they will contribute to the relocation scheme, the EU's executive said Thursday.
"This is why the commission has decided to move to the next stage of the infringement procedure and refer the three member states to the Court of Justice of the EU."
If no action is taken, the EU's top court can impose hefty fines on countries that fail to abide by the bloc's regulations. It ruled in September that the relocation scheme is valid under EU law, after Hungary and Slovakia challenged it, with Poland's support.
There are still a "few thousand" refugees awaiting relocation in Greece and Italy, European Vice President Frans Timmermans said. ■