EU Ministers Agree New Deal on Migrants and Asylum Policy
The interior ministers of EU member states agreed on Thursday in Luxembourg on a common position to revamp the bloc's migration and asylum policy, although staunchly anti-migration countries Hungary and Poland voiced strong opposition.
"These proposals represent the two main pillars of the asylum system reform and are key to the balance between responsibility and solidarity," a delegation led by Sweden's Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard, who chaired the Luxembourg talks, said in a statement.
"This is a great achievement for Europe," said European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.
Instead of binding quotas for distributing migrants arriving in the EU around member countries, which some Central and Eastern European states did not agree to, countries that do not want to receive migrants will have to contribute financially or in some other way to joint efforts to manage migration.
Media reports have said there will be charges of 20,000 euros per person for member countries that refuse to host refugees.
The agreement now goes to the European Parliament for discussion and adoption. If the entire package is adopted by June next year as envisaged, it will begin to be implemented two years later, in 2026.
The Hungarian government said it is completely opposed to the plan, however.
"Brussels is abusing its power. They want to relocate migrants to Hungary by force. This is unacceptable! They want to pressure Hungary to become a country of migrants," Prime Minister Viktor Orban wrote on Facebook.
An official Hungarian government statement was similarly combative: "Mandatory resettlement of migrants was passed in Brussels. Whoever resists must pay. Hungary does not want to be part of this."