Finally! The European Commission is considering to impose “sanctions”, that is radical measures in form of financial fines to EU member states that refuse to accept refugees on the context of relocation scheme and the EU Turkey deal. As majority of EU member states refuse to comply with the agreement they have agreed upon in November 2015 and March 2016, Brussels will allegedly propose to make countries that decline to share the burden of Migration pay €250,000 per refugee.
According to Financial Times, European countries that refuse to share the burden of high immigration will face a financial charge of about €250,000 per refugee, according to Brussels’ plans to overhaul the bloc’s asylum rules. Citing “EU officials” the newspaper notes that “the punitive financial pay-off clause is one of the most contentious parts of the European Commission’s proposed revision of the so-called Dublin asylum regulation,” due to be revealed on Wednesday.
The fine “represents the EU’s most concerted attempt to salvage an asylum system that collapsed under the weight of a million-strong migration to Europe last year, endangering the principle of passport-free travel in the Schengen area.”
In recent weeks migrant flows to Greece have fallen due to tighter controls through the western Balkans and a deal with Turkey to send-back asylum seekers arriving on Greek islands. However, the EU remains as politically divided as ever over strengthening the bloc’s asylum rules.
“While acknowledging these political constraints, the commission’s reforms aim to gradually shift more responsibility away from the overwhelmed frontline states, such as Greece, in future crises, primarily through an automatic system to share refugees across Europe if a country faces a sudden influx.
Crucially, this is backed by a clause that allows immigration-wary countries to pay a fee — set at a deliberately high level — if they want to avoid taking relocated asylum seekers for a temporary period.
According to four people familiar with the proposal, this contribution was set at €250,000 per asylum seeker in Monday’s commission draft. But those involved in the talks say it may well be adjusted in deliberations over coming days.
“The size of the contribution may change but the idea is to make it appear like a sanction,” said one official who has seen the proposal. Another diplomat said in any event the price of refusing to host a refugee would be “hundreds of thousands of euros”.
The size of the contribution may change but the idea is to make it appear like a sanction
Eastern European states such as Poland and Hungary would welcome alternatives to mandatory asylum quotas but will balk at the high penalties suggested. At the commission’s recommended rate, Poland would need to pay around €1.5bn to avoid its existing 6,200 quota to relocate refugees from Italy and Greece. (full article FinancialTimes)
The talkative “EU officials” did not reveal, however, who will receive the fines and whether the money would be
- distributed to Greece and Italy as compensation for the refugees trapped in these two countries or
- given to EC that would channel it to Greece, Italy via the NGO’s that help the refugees and to Turkey or
- a credit on the spreed sheets the fined countries receive in form of EU Structural Funds
End of February, the Greek government and President Prokopis Pavlopouos had repeatedly said that sanctions should be imposed to EU member states that refuse to comply Eu rules and decisions, targeting EU member states that were closing border to Refugees. Reality was quicker than Greece: EUleaders adopted the borders closure. during the EU Turkey deal talks, Athens failed to table a sanctions proposal for those EU states refusing to comply with the relocation scheme.
But I would well imagine, that EC president Jean-Claude Juncker kept th ‘sanctions idea’ in his sleeve as he wanted to check first whether his relocation scheme and the other nice things the EU leaders had approved would work in the real world. They did not. Neither did the 1:1 quota of Syrian refugees from the Greek islands to Turkey and from Turkey to EU countries. Ankara said recently that it had received 20 Syrian refugees form the Greek islands, refugees who had arrived after March 20th 2016, when the EU Turkey deal went into effect.
Furthermore, according to the EU Turkey deal, EU members should have relocated 6,000 refugees per month from Greece alone.
Given the slow pace of EU member states to supply Greece with personnel that would accelerate the asylum procedures, I suppose the EC would do well to fine the Eu states that have not done so. Charge each member state with at least €10,000 per policeman, judge, translator and administrative personnel that has not be sent to Greece.