Dutch PM: EU states blocking asylum placement must be penalized
Prime Minister Mark Rutte wants to impose financial penalty on the Eastern European EU member states which are frustrating the equal redistribution of asylum seekers across the European Union, Trouw reports.
During a parliamentary debate on Monday, Rutte said that he's been "annoyed" for a while at "countries that do not contribute to solving the problem" and he plans to change this. He is adopting the proposal of VVD parliamentarian Bas van 't Wout and PvdA parliamentarian Marit Maij for sanctions against Member States who oppose the redistribution, according to the newspaper. The coalition parties want opposing Member States to get less EU funds for infrastructure and development.
Rutte acknowledged that his threat can not be implemented in the short term, given that EU budget up until 2020 is largely set in place. And big interim changes to the infrastructure funds are only possible if all countries agree, which is unlikely. But he will be keeping an eye out for any cutbacks that can be made. The fact that the Netherlands has presidency over the EU for the first half of next year, may make imposing these measures somewhat easier.
A majority of European ministers voted for fairly redistributing 120 thousand asylum seekers in Greece and Italy across the other EU Member States. Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania voted against this proposal. Budapest and Bratislava also refuse to agree to the mandatory redistribution.