The European Union has lodged an official complaint against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland over the three countries’ refusal to contribute to the implementation of a refugee relocation scheme that was adopted more than two years ago.
The European Commission, which serves as the executive branch of the EU, said Thursday that the case of the three countries was being referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
It said in a statement that the three Eastern European countries “have given no indication that they will contribute to the implementation of the relocation decision,” adding that they “remain in breach of their legal obligations” with regard to a September 2015 refugee relocation deal.
Members of the EU agreed as part of the deal to share the burden of accommodating some 160,000 refugees as a massive refugee influx hit the European shores in Italy and Greece in 2015.
The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, however, refused from the very beginning to endorse the relocation scheme, saying it would violate their sovereignty and create security and economic problems. They have reportedly admitted almost none from the quotas earmarked two years ago.
Brussels launched the so-called infringement proceedings against the three countries in June and warned them last month of further action. There was no immediate reaction to the EU statement from the governments in Prague, Budapest or Warsaw on Thursday.
The rift over the relocation of asylum seekers is the latest to hit relations between the east and west of Europe, where countries seem to become increasingly at odds over a series of issues from migration to democratic standards.
The European Commission said Thursday that in addition to the complaints over the refugees, Hungary was sued in the ECJ over its crackdown on education and foreign-backed civil society groups.
Poland also faces a legal battle in the European court over its logging in one of Europe’s last primeval forests while its controversial judicial reforms could also expose it to further EU action in the future.