EU warns of punishment to member states that fail to absorb refugees

The European Union’s Migration Commission warned there will be repercussions for member states failing to comply with a directive to absorb refugees waiting for relocation in Greece and Italy.

On Thursday the European Commission heightened warnings that countries could be punished if they fail to share the burden of mainly Syrian refugees stranded in Greece and Italy.

Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos says member states have until September to take in 160,000 Syrians as well as refugees from the two countries, which have been on the front line of the migration crisis.

So far only 13,500 have been relocated in a process bogged down by general inertia and resistance from Eastern European states opposed to Muslim immigration.

“If we don’t have tangible efforts by September… the commission will not hesitate to make use of its power,” Avramopoulos, who is Greece’s EU commissioner, told a news conference.

The EU is attempting to convince members states “to do their duty,” he says.

February set a record high of 1,940 immigrants relocating within the European Union, though this number is far below the European Council endorsed goal of 3,000 per month from Greece and 1,500 a month from Italy. In total, 13,546 relocations have taken place: 3,936 from Italy and 9,610 from Greece.

Though it is a realistic target, the current slow pace of relocation will deny resettlement to many eligible applicants currently present in Greece and Italy.  Only Malta and Finland have met their obligations for both Italy and Greece. Member states such as Hungary, Austria and Poland are still resistant to participation in the scheme and others such as, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovakia have complied minimally.

By: World Israel News Staff