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Tusk to propose scrapping refugee quotas scheme, EU may accept

European Council president Donald Tusk is to tell the EU summit on Thursday that the mandatory quotas for refugees relocation have been ‘divisive and ineffective’ and they should be abolished. The plan comes just days after the EU took three member states, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to court for “non-compliance with the refugee quotas regulations.”

But despite the Commission’s decision to go ahead with legal proceedings, the EU could ultimately scrap the scheme that compels member states to accept quotas of refugees

The president of the European council, Donald Tusk, will tell EU leaders at a summit on Thursday that mandatory quotas have been divisive and ineffective, in a clear sign that he is ready to abandon the policy that has created bitter splits across the continent.

Tusk will set a six-month deadline for EU leaders to reach unanimous agreement on reforms to the European asylum system, but will propose alternatives if there is no consensus.

“If there is no solution … including on the issue of mandatory quotas, the president of the European council will present a way forward,” states a draft letter from Tusk to national capitals, seen by the Guardian.

Last week, the European Commission has referred the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over the states’ “non-compliance with their legal obligations” to accept migrant quotas and resettle refugees.

The referral is the latest development in one of the thorniest issues for the European Union in recent years. Many leaders in the eastern part of the bloc have been against the policy from day one.

In October, Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, told the Polish Press Agency that the quota policy had no future and that “this completely unnecessary conflict between member states must end.”

PS A clear example that the right hand (EU) has no idea what the left hand (EC) is up to.

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  1. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    The East European far right (neofascist) governments have managed to hijack the EU, and oppose the rule of law. It was a serious mistake to allow them in, in the first place. This was partly empire-building from France, and neoliberal market greed from Germany and the UK.

    Your comment, KTG, about right and left hands is wrong. Tusk represents the national governments of the EU: the European Council and the Council of Ministers are nothing to do with the Commission or the Parliament. This is where the problem lies — with racist and out-of-control thugs like the ugly pig who is PM in Hungary.He is an inspiration for all the neo-Nazis across the EU, including Golden Toilet.

  2. I have to disagree with Martin Baldwin-Edwards here. Either the EU has a policy on refugees or it doesn’t. Simply passing the buck back and forth between the EC, the Council of Ministers, the Commission or Parliament is simply a way to “drown the fish” (to quote a French saying). One cannot argue that the EU has one policy on refugees, but that it cannot be implemented because other administrative bodies of the EU are opposed to it. What the EU has done with and to refugees (and not just the East European government) is disgraceful and shows a total contempt for the moral foundations of law they claim to be abiding by.

    Having said that, I agree that it was a mistake to allow the East European countries in. I’m not sure if it was empire building on the part of the French. I think it was rather an effort on the part of the Germans to shift the balance of power northward away from countries that have traditionally had more in common with the French and towards countries and areas that have traditionally been more in the German sphere of influence (especially economically).

  3. The real Neo-Nazis of Europe rule in Brussels along with the Banksters. The leaders of the East European countries are the only ones who have a brain. They now realize how stupid they were to give up their sovereignty to those with this ridiculous dream of a “United States of Europe”. The UK is correct get out, and may it do so asap. Tusk, Schulz and Merkel will go down in history as having tried to destroy Europe, nothing else. They are nothing but robotic, cowardly, mediocrities. How many refugees have they taken into their homes? It is easy for them to let Italy and Greece do all the “dirty work”. Best of luck to Orbán, Zeman, Szydlo, etc. There is no greater mistake than giving up one’s sovereignty to a gang of fools and thieves. Let’s see how many of those hypocrites who defend quotas are personally supporting or sheltering the so-called “refugees”. It is all BS from Brussels.

  4. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    @Tintin. You are making my point, rather than disagreeing with me. The EU has law and policy on the burden-sharing of refugees which the Czech Rep, Hungary and Poland (far right governments) refuse to obey. These laws were passed recently — during the refugee “crisis” that started in 2015 — and had to be passed without unanimous support, because of opposition then from these countries. The referral to the CJEU can only result in their being found in breach of EU law and of their legal duties.

    However, they are effectively holding the EU to ransom — with Tusk as their intermediary — with the implicit threat that the entire EU structure could fail, if they choose to make it happen. That was already a fear during the refugee crisis, for the same reason. It is not a matter of left and right hands: it is matter of (some) national governments of the EU refusing to uphold the rule of law. Nor is it a matter of passing the buck. Be very clear: this is political terrorism from the fascist right who are in power in these three countries. This could be the end of the EU — which is not a welcome thougnt at all, despite its miserable failure to address just about any serious problems in the last decade.

  5. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    @carlwilliam. I fear that you are totally confused. The Germans have for decades taken in far more refugees than any other EU country, and the UK has taken in almost none over the same period. The East European countries are openly racist and refuse to implement the UN Convention on Refugees as well as EU law. They are fascist thugs with nationalistic support from foolish electorates. The UK is similar, with very high levels of racism and extremist violence against foreigners and minorities.

    There is no analogy to be made with bankers. It is a totally different issue. Germany and the EU have made very bad mistakes with the eurozone crisis, but it is a separate problem.

    As for Brexit, it is already a total disaster for the UK and can only get worse. It is the result of far right populism and a gullible electorate, along with very low quality politicians who could not even run a corner shop.

  6. @Martin Baldwin-Edwards While I agree with your comment that some nations are effectively holding the EU to ransom, one of the reason this is possible is the fact that the EU itself has selectively implemented its policies in the past thus giving the green light to others that this is in fact permissible. Two examples among others: the decision by Germany and Belgium among others to suspend the Schengen Agreement when and because it is convenient for them to do so today; the selective imposition of treaty obligation on various members depending on the relative political and economic strength of the members in question. Hence Greece is deemed to be in violation of the Stability Pact and forced to adopt harsh austerity measures, but France and Germany who are also in violation of the pact (or have been in the recent past) are basically given a free pass. This two-speed enforcement policy reinforces the view that in the EU it’s not the rule of law that matter, but rather how powerful you are or how much you can threaten the edifice. As Malcom X would say to France and Germany with regards to the Easter European nations: “your roosters have come home to roost.”

  7. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    @Tintin. The provisions of the Schengen Border Code can be suspended temporarily, on notification to hte Commission and justifying the suspension. Doing so is probably in conformity with the rule of law, and totally different from defying and undermining it, as the three East European countries are doing.

    As for the eurozone situation, you have a point there. The eurozone does not have a proper legal code; the eurogroup do not even keep minutes (as Varoufakis shockingly revealed to the world) and the European Central Bank appears to operate outside of the rule of law and is without proper accountability and oversight.

  8. @ Martin Baldwin-Edwards. The EU is nothing but a hypocritical entity and total lackey of Washington. The German economy has done well making money off all those refugees. If your EU leaders really cared about the welfare of those “refugees” then it wouldn’t have supported the US’s massive wars in MENA in the first place! Europeans are paying the price for Washington’s war-mongering policies and can’t seem to realize this. If there is any country that deserves a massive terrorist attack, it is the US. Europe will eventually learn that being their relationship with the US will only bring them misery. My hat is off to the East European leaders and no one can deny that they have the people behind them. Let them destroy the EU and Everything it hypocritically represents. If Greece had gotten out of the Euro in 2010 it wouldn’t have another 30 years of austerity in front of it like today. Please don’t give me any more of this phony “humanitarian” BS.

  9. @Martin Baldwin-Edwards I am aware that the Schengen Agreement can be suspended for 6 months (or two years if there is fear of a terrorist attack), but this leaves whole the question of who can – politically mind you not legally – invoke such a suspension and have it stick. It’s hard to imagine that France, Germany and the other European heavyweights would allow countries such as Greece, the Eastern European countries, Lithuania, etc. to invoke such a right. This is something that they can do, but it’s much harder for others even if others have to bear the consequences of such decisions. In other words, while everyone technically has the right to invoke rules, practically only certain nations are able to make those rules apply when it suits them. It’s a nice double-edged tool – it gives you the face saving option of saying that you abide by all kinds of nice looking rules based on even nicer looking principles while in reality making sure that the strongest nations can wave these when they are not convenient leaving the weaker countries like Greece to deal with the consequences. In my opinion, it’s that hypocritical stance that is tearing the EU apart. People, including people in the core EU countries, are no longer duped by an organization that tells people “do as I say not as I do.” But that has always been the ruling principle of the EU: have a very nice sounding public-facing policy with nice soundbites and have a set of actual real-politik based policies that are deployed in the middle of the night.

    Take refugees for instance (and please correct me if I’m wrong – I’m sure you are more knowledgeable than me on this topic). Germany has very publicly been clamoring during the Balkan refugee crisis that it has taken in more refugees than anyone – up to a million I’ve read. While I’m sure it has taken more than anyone else, are these publicly-stated numbers actually accurate or are they the result of some not-so-public sleight of hand?

    For instance, does this number (1,000,000) include only refugees coming as a result of the latest refugees crisis as was implied in all the press releases or does it also include refugees that were already in the German system beforehand?

    Of this number of refugees, all very publicly greeted in Germany, how many have had their application to stay actually approved (probably in a much less public manner)? Some articles I’ve seen in the German press imply that a majority of applicants are being summarily rejected.

    Of the remaining number, how many have been quietly sent back to the “country of first entry” to be processed there and hence are no longer on German soil?

    While I understand that’s it’s Germany’s right to accept and reject refugees based on it’s own criteria, my point is that the reality is a far cry from the public image projected of a welcoming country where everyone has a chance to start over.

    But then again, I could be wrong. this is not my are of expertise.

    I will add that I do not disagree with @carlwilliam on one point: Europe is now reaping the consequences of not having an independent, foreign policy based on principles of law and justice. Instead it quietly follows the US and Nato in all of its hare-brained plans spawn by a neoconservative cohort to remake the ME and restart the Cold War.

    Having said all this, let me wish you and everyone here: καλές γιορτές!