Polish authorities appealed to the European Court of Justice against its obligation to take in refugees under the EU relocation scheme, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said Tuesday.
The European Commission brought a lawsuit against Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in mid-June, claiming that the three countries were in violation of EU legislation by refusing to accept refugees under its 2015 relocation plan.
“The case has been appealed to the European Court of Justice, we await the outcome of the decision… The relocation was supposed to take place in 2015-2017. It has not been implemented, basically, by no one. The European Union does not have an instrument of punishment in such a case,” Waszczykowski said.
In 2015, EU member states adopted a solidarity plan, according to which the each country would, amongst themselves, relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from overcrowded refugee camps in Italy and Greece. Poland, which was then led by the Civic Platform political party, agreed to take in 6,200 refugees, mainly from Syria. After a parliamentary election that same year, which took place amid the peak of the EU migration crisis, Poland’s Eurosceptic Law and Justice party came to power. The new government urgently backed out of the previous ruling party’s commitment to accept asylum seekers.