The European Commission has given the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland one month to change their minds on participating in the EU’s migrant relocation scheme.
“There is still time to change everything and come back to normality,” said EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday (26 July).
He announced that the commission had taken the next step in a legal procedure against the three central and eastern EU countries, for their unwillingness to take any migrants from Italy or Greece through a mandatory quota plan.
This so-called infringement procedure began last month, when the commission sent letters of formal notice.
“In their reply, none of these member states indicated that they would relocate a number of applicants swiftly to their territory,” said Avramopoulos.
The second stage of the procedure is also a letter, called a reasoned opinion. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have one month to reply – normally, the period is two months.
The decision comes on the same day that an advocate general for the Court of Justice of the European Union said that the relocation plan, decided in September 2015, was legal.
Hungary and Slovakia had filed a case against the decision, which they thought went beyond what member states can decide in the Council of the EU.
The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia were outvoted when the decision was taken.
Hungary and Poland have since not taken any migrants, while Slovakia has taken 16, from Greece, according to figures released by the commission on Wednesday.