In a major development meant to stave off the socio-political collapse of the EU in the face of rising Euroscepticism in ‘Tier II and III’ EU countries, the Union has confirmed its abandonment of the policy of mandatory migrant relocation. Under the former program, Brussels made decisions about where ‘excess’ immigrants would be relocated within the EU. This placed an undue burden on countries in the EU which do not have the economic basis, employment figures, GDP growth, or social-framework to take on an inflow of migrants from ‘crisis zones’ in Africa and the Middle-east. It should also be noted that, politically and militarily, ‘Tier III’ EU countries such as Poland do not have an imperialist economic or military history with regions where migrant flows stem from. This fact turns the standard left-wing argument for open-borders on its head, within the now abandoned framework.
The informal EU summit has confirmed that the bloc has abandoned the mandatory migrant relocation scheme, a decision considered “very positive” by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Thursday.
Participants at the current EU summit in the Austrian city of Salzburg confirmed that secondary migration in the European Union posed risks to the Schengen area and called on EU Member States to take measures to prevent migrants from moving through the bloc.
“The decisions are very positive for Poland and they say that the reception of any refugee will be voluntary. Poland will not be forced to participate in any scheme to receive refugees,” Morawiecki said.
The prime minister pointed out that the decision was taken on the initiative of Poland and three other states of the Visegrad Group: Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.
The Visegrad states condemned the relocation scheme for migrants and refused to accept migrants and refugees who arrived in other EU member states.
The European Union has experienced a large-scale migration crisis since 2015 due to the influx of thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing crises in the Middle East and North Africa. The European Council has recently agreed on several aspects of the bloc’s migration policy, including the establishment of “regional landing platforms in close cooperation with third countries” and controlled centers in the EU member states to process requests for refuge. Resettlement or relocation of migrants across the bloc should be done voluntarily amid lack of consensus.
Last year the European Union gave a public ultimatum for Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic to begin accepting refugees. The bloc said it would install “infringement procedures” against the three countries.
Brussels said at the time that the three countries were not doing their part to comply with an agreement that the bloc signed in 2015 and which provided for the reception of 160,000 refugees. To date, fewer than 21,000 people have been welcomed. At the time, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia voted against the plan, but were minority.
Still to be tackled in the view of many of these states, however, is the problem of ‘arrival states’. France and Germany – the primary states of the EU and the target location of most migrants – are insulated by what are informally referred to as Tier II states such as Italy and Spain, and Tier III states like Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece. At present, leaders and voters within Tier II and III states complain of the ongoing EU policy of ‘returning’ excess migrants in France and Germany ‘to’ the first EU state they entered. This makes Balkan and Mediterranean states singularly vulnerable to what populists have referred to, using inflammatory rhetoric, as an ‘invasion of Arabs and Africans’.