Juncker Reveals EU Would Not Have Accepted Poland and Hungary If They Applied Today

Vickiie Oliphant and Monika Pallenberg, Express, June 16, 2017

Jean-Claude Juncker

Jean-Claude Juncker

The European Commission President strongly criticised the eastern states for their refusal to take in refugees during the height of the migrant crisis.

Poland and Hungary refused to take in a single person under a plan agreed in 2015 to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece, which had been overwhelmed by mass influx of people from the Middle East and Africa.

And the states are now facing a legal challenge from the EU over their anti-migrant stance, along with fierce criticism from Mr Juncker.

He said: “Those who do not want to accept people with a different skin colour or a different belief come from a world of ideas that I do not consider compatible with the EU’s original mission.”

And he claimed this attitude from countries such as Poland and Hungary would have a been a cause to deny them membership in 2004 if the migrant crisis was active at that time.

Mr Juncker said: “If the refugee crisis had already existed then, and if it had been put like that, then access would probably have been blocked.”

However, he also denied organising a reduction in EU structural funds, which mainly benefit Eastern European countries, in punishment for their actions.

Mr Juncker said: “Sometimes I feel like doing that. But I do not believe in running around Europe threatening people.

“If we start to threaten to cut funding now, it will not help in creating a minimum of solidarity.”

The comments come after the EU opened legal cases against three eastern members for failing to take in asylum-seekers to relieve states on the front lines of the bloc’s migration crisis, sources said.

So-called letters of formal notice are to be sent to Poland and Hungary, and diplomats suggested the Czech Republic is also on the list.

The letters are the first step in the so-called infringement procedures the Commission can open against EU states for failing to meet their legal obligations.

But the eastern allies have refused to budge on their anti-migrant stance.

Speaking in Hungary’s parliament earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said: “We will not give in to blackmail from Brussels and we reject the mandatory relocation quota.”

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