EU urges member nations to share more refugees

"To start doing so right now", EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters.

Eastern European countries like Hungary and Poland have opposed an EU plan adopted in 2015 to take in 160,000 Syrian, Eritrean and Iraq asylum seekers from Greece and Italy.

Reacting to the European Union setting a June deadline by which Poland and Hungary must take migrants from Italy and Greece or face sanctions, the minister said "the security of Poland and the Poles is at risk" from the bloc's relocation scheme.

The department noted that due to issues with the Italian authorities surrounding the security assessment of migrants assigned to other member states, the relocation mechanism from Italy has yet to commence for many countries, including Ireland.

The national ministers discussed a document drawn up by the European Commission that sums up the situation rather than call for further action or for a vote, said a diplomat involved in the dossier.

Liberal EU lawmaker Sophie In't Veld said Prime Minister Viktor Orban "has systematically undermined all critical voices and opposition forces".

According to kormany.hu, Bakondi also said that European Union officials have not been elected to "threaten" member states with severe sanctions from time to time, adding that it would be wiser to consider why some member states are reluctant to fulfill the mandatory quotas.

While crossings to Greece have plummeted since the controversial EU-Turkey deal, the number of migrants arriving in Italy has continued to rise, seeing nearly 13,000 people disembark last month alone.

European sources blamed the delays on a series of factors: governments trying to screen jihadists in the wake of terror attacks, a lack of housing and education for asylum seekers, and logistical problems.

Brussels launched the relocation plan to help people fleeing the mainly Muslim war-torn countries of Syria and Iraq as well as the east African state of Eritrea. The Commission welcomed the move and urged Vienna to do the same from Greece.

Apart from Warsaw and Budapest, which took the whole relocation scheme to the EU's top court, the Commission also singled out the Czech Republic, saying it has not been active on that front for a year.

Estonia and Ireland have also not accepted anyone from Italy. It said the leader lived between Spain and Belgium.

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  • Zachary Reyes