The European Commission [official website] started infringement [press release] procedures against the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary on Tuesday for refusal to comply with the European Commission’s emergency relocation scheme. The emergency relocation scheme was passed in 2015 to help relocate asylum seekers in Italy and Greece. In total, more than 98,000 people are meant to be relocated through the program. Every member state is expected to provide available places for relocation every three months. Hungary has not made any pledges throughout the program, Poland stopped making pledges after December 2015 and the Czech Republic stopped making pledges for more than a year. The three countries will have one month to respond to the European Commission’s arguments. If the Commission finds the response to be unsatisfactory, the Commission may “send a reasoned opinion to the member states.” The Commission may then also send the case tot the EU Court of Justice.
Several European countries have received criticism over their handling of the asylum seeker crisis. In January the European Commission declared [JURIST report] that the conditions on the Greek islands for asylum seekers was “untenable.” In March Hungary lawmakers approved [JURIST report] legislation that would prevent asylum seekers from moving about the country or leaving until their claims were investigated. In October 2015 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged [JURIST report] to the Czech Republic to stop detaining migrants and refugees.