European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sparked uproar by proposing a sweeping overhaul of the EU refugees system in response to the European migrant crisis.
“It is high time to act, to manage the refugee crisis, because there is no alternative”.
“We are fighting against Islamic State”.
“We have the means to help those fleeing from war, terror, oppression”, he said, invoking centuries of turbulent history.
The figure of 120,000 is on top of a proposal by the European Commission in May to relocate 40,000 people in need of worldwide protection from Italy and Greece.
He said European countries that were part of the Schengen no-borders zone – which Britain has not joined – had to reach their “own answers”.
“EU funds could be withheld from countries that don’t take in required numbers”.
Hungary in late August completed a razor-wire barrier along its 175-kilometre border with Serbia which is however not proving to be much of a hindrance.
At the weekend, Austria allowed some 15,000 to enter the country freely to help relieve a near-explosive situation in Hungary where 50,000 migrants arrived in August alone.
Despite the urgency, the EU’s first refugee plan never won full support, and only around 32,000 refugees have been allocated. Still, Swedish officials say they will not make a special deal with this country, meaning new arrivals must seek asylum in Denmark as required.
“We will have to see whether the Hungarian courts apply worldwide standards, and if they don’t, those matters will be referred to the European Court of Human Rights”, he said.
The European Commission has set out detailed plans for mandatory quotas for EU nations to take in refugees, as Europe struggles to cope with a huge influx of migrants – many of them fleeing war in Syria.
Half a million migrants – about 0.11% of the EU’s population – have arrived so far this year, illegally crossing seas and land borders because there are few other ways for them to claim asylum.
“Islamist terrorists, disguised as refugees, have showed up in Europe”.
A 51-year-old Pakistani migrant died in Hungary last Friday after he fell and hit his head on railway tracks when a group of 350 migrants broke free from an area cordoned off by police.
“The compulsory quotas are not a good solution”, Sobotka said in a statement. “If we hadn’t said that loudly and clearly, Grexit could have happened”, he said, adding that he had been deeply disturbed by comments in recent months of a Greek exit from the euro zone. Hungary has also made a similar argument.
Italian lawmaker Gianluca Buonanno of the anti-immigration Northern League donned an Angela Merkel face-mask to interrupt Juncker in an attempt to suggest that the German chancellor was dictating asylum policy to Europe. Other proposals by Juncker include a permanent relocation system to handle future crises, the proposal of a list of “safe countries” where migrants would return to and improved management of external borders.