The European Union’s commissioner for migration says there are ways to make all EU members states comply with the program of relocation of refugees among them.
Dimitris Avramopoulos made the statement last week in Warsaw, where he is visiting the growing European border guard agency, Frontex.
Poland is refusing to accept migrants, arguing they are chiefly economic migrants, not war refugees, and may potentially pose a threat.
Without naming Poland, Avramopoulos said the EU has the “tools, the means and the power” to convince all members to comply and will make an assessment of response by the end of September. He mentioned no sanctions.
At a press conference beginning of the month, Dimitris Avramopoulos said member countries have until September to take in 160,000 mostly Syrian refugees currently stranded in Greece and Italy.
“If we don’t have tangible efforts by September … the commission will not hesitate to make use of its power,” Avramopoulos said at a news conference.
Avramopoulos, who is Greece’s EU commissioner, said the EU has been trying to convince member states to “do their duty,” adding, “But if it is not the case in the future, infringements might be an option.”
He was referring to “infringement proceedings,” which the European Commission may launch to impose fines on member states that break EU rules.
ramopoulos’s comments are the latest in a series of threats by EU officials to countries that refuse to accept refugees or challenge the EU’s quotas.
“The Commission might start infraction procedures” against resistant nations, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans declared in early February. He expressed his hope that “peer pressure” would force countries to comply.