European Union scraps plan for mandatory acceptance of migrants
The foreign ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia declined Germany's plan to relocate 160,000 migrants across 28 European nations.
Petr David Josek/AP
Four Central European nations rejected Germany’s call to create mandatory quotas for accepting migrants.
The foreign ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia declined German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s plan to relocate 160,000 migrants across 28 European nations.
Steinmeier said the migrant crisis is "possibly the biggest challenge for the European Union in its history. And it's impossible for one country to deal with such a challenge."
Germany, which accepts the most migrants of any EU nation, is pressing for the quotas. Steinmeier expects 40,000 migrants to arrive in Germany over the coming weekend and 800,000 this year.
"We need to have control over how many we are capable of accepting,” said Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the top goal should be to gain control over the EU's external borders. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has ordered his country's border with Serbia to be turned into a razor-tipped fortress, says the solution to the European Union migration crisis lies in Greece.
"We have to take care of the problem where it exists," Orban told a Budapest news conference. "If Greece is not capable of protecting its borders, we need to mobilize European forces to the Greek borders so that they can achieve the goals of European law instead of the Greek authorities. That is one of the foremost goals."
Under EU asylum rules, those seeking refugee protection should apply in the first EU country they enter. Greece is the first EU country on the migration route that starts in Turkey and runs through the Balkans and Hungary. Thousands daily take short journeys by boat from the Turkish coast to Greece's eastern Aegean islands.