Divide between EU members widen over migration crisis
A meeting of EU leaders in Brussels to discuss the migration crisis ran into the early hours of Friday but failed to narrow the gap between eastern and western bloc members on the issue.
EU nations openly bickered over migration policy on Thursday, after Austria’s new young chancellor Sebastian Kurz joined eastern and central European countries in rejecting mandatory refugee quotas for all EU member states.
Kurz (pictured with Tusk) backed EU President Donald Tusk’s call against the “ineffective” and “highly divisive” quota scheme, in a letter to EU leaders before the second day of a summit held in Brussels.
Eastern European states Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic – known as the the Visegrad Four – which have refused to take migrants, agree with Tusk while Germany and Greece support the relocation scheme.
“Tusk is right when he says that mandatory migrant quotas in the EU haven’t worked,” said Kurz. “I will work towards changing this erroneous refugee policy,” he told the Austria Press Agency, calling for a “system change”.
He congratulated Tusk on a “positive” move, as well as “other European states that are pressing first and foremost for decent border protection and spending more EU funds on this”.
The Visegrad Four announced that they planned to spend around 35 million euros to increase EU border security after the four countries were criticized for failing to show solidarity with the rest of the bloc.
The quota scheme to share the burden of the flood 160 000 migrants, agreed to in 2015, was to help immigration frontline states Greece and Italy, but only some 32 000 migrants have been relocated.
The EU has no plans for a permanent mechanism for future crises.
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Picture insert of Kurz, Tusk: POOL/AFP/Olivier Hoslet