The European Union’s immigration commissioner says the bloc has the “tools, the means, and the power” to force EU member states to accept Islamic migrants.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, Greece’s commissioner for the EU’s “Common Immigration and Asylum Policy,” made the comments during a visit to Poland, which refuses to accept economic migrants into their country.
“If we don’t have tangible efforts by September… the Commission will not hesitate to make use of its power,” he warned.
Avramopoulos’ comments are the latest of a string of threats made by European officials to countries who challenge the EU’s migrant quotas meant to offset the 160,000 migrants from Italy and Greece by September.
“The Commission might start infraction procedures and we will certainly consider that,” said European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans last month, adding that “peer pressure” would eventually convince countries to adopt the policy.
The Commission, the unelected executive arm of the EU, has even threatened to fine member states €250,000 for every migrant they refuse to settle in order to “fairly and equally” distribute thousands of migrants across the continent.
The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced last month that the bloc had no intention of sealing the borders to reduce the flow of migrants.
“Let me be totally clear from the very beginning: Europe does not and will not close its doors,” she said.
“I believe Europeans should understand that we need migration for our economies and our welfare systems, with the current demographic trend we have to be sustainable.”
Hungary, another defiant EU member, recently passed a measure forcing all asylum-seekers into detention camps outside the country’s border while they wait for their cases to be heard.
“In this situation the Hungarian standpoint in firm: the external borders of the European Union must be protected and hotspots for the evaluation of asylum requests must be established outside of the EU,” said György Bakondi, Security Advisor to the Hungarian PM in January.