This Wednesday the European Commission has launched infringement procedures against the Czech Republic for non-compliance under the 2015 Council decision over relocation.

The 2015 Council Decision requires Member States to pledge available places for relocation every three months. The Regulation foresees the relocation of asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU Member states.

Hungary has, contrary to its legal obligations, not participated in the scheme. Poland has refrained from pledging and relocating asylum seekers since December 2015 and the Czech Republic did not relocate since August 2016.

Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak commented that accepting asylum seekers under the scheme was worse than any penalties. Czech Prime Minister stated Bohuslav Sobotka stated that the country “will not participate in the quotas since they are not functioning” and that his government was “”prepared to consistently defend [its] stance in the EU and in the respective judicial institutions.”

Filippo Grandi, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees reportedly stated that the relocation scheme has been a “disappointment.” The target commitment has been downscaled  by the Commission in April to just over 33,000 persons to be relocated in total by September this year.

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