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European Commission to haul Czech, Hungary, Poland before court over refugee sharing

Xinhua,December 07, 2017 Adjust font size:

BRUSSELS, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission on Thursday decided to haul the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland before the Court of Justice of the EU, in the latest legal action against them for not taking in refugees.

The Commission has launched legal action against the three member states earlier this year, sending them a "Letter of Formal Notice" in June and a "Reasoned Opinion" in July.

But, "the replies received were again found not satisfactory and the three countries have given no indication that they will contribute to the implementation of the relocation decision," the Commission said in a statement.

According to the Commission, Poland and Hungary haven't taken in any refugees since September 2015, when EU member states pledged to relocate a total of 160,000 migrants from overstretched Greece and Italy within two years.

The Czech Republic has not relocated anyone since August 2016 and not made any new pledges for over a year.

The three countries insisted that their national security is more important than "reckless decisions" on refugees made by EU institutions.

The two-year relocation scheme has relocated some 32,000 refugees from Greece and Italy to other EU member states.

There are still a few thousand eligible applicants in Italy and Greece waiting to be relocated, Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the Commission, disclosed Thursday at a press conference at the Commission headquarter.

Under the EU law, the Commission has the power to take legal action against a member state which is not respecting its obligations.

The infringement procedure begins with sending member states concerned a "Letter of Formal Notice" and then a "Reasoned Opinion", both of which must be answered within a specified period, usually two months.

If the member state still refuses to comply, the Commission may then decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice.

The Commission can propose that the Court imposes financial penalties on the member state.

At the press conference, Timmermans unveiled the Commission's political roadmap to reach a comprehensive agreement among member states by June 2018 on how to pursue a "stable and future-proof" migration policy.

The roadmap recommends leaders of member states press on reforming the EU's Common European Asylum System, strengthening partnerships with third countries, continuing to open legal pathways to Europe and securing adequate funding for the future. Enditem