Italy will block EU funds to V4 group over migrants

The Visegrad Group (V4) countries – Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary – have refused to accept refugees from hotspots such as Italy and Greece in line with EU quotas, The News Poland reported.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told a group of journalists that “if a member state does not want to adhere to the agreement, it will be a good idea to cut – or at least limit – its funding from Brussels.” He added that the Polish government agreed to take part in the EU’s relocation scheme a year ago.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told public broadcaster RAI, that he would veto the disbursement of EU funds to countries like Poland, who refuse to accept migrants.

Under the scheme, which was agreed upon by EU member states a year ago, 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy would be relocated across the bloc.

Poland’s then-government promised to take in 7,000 refugees. However, Rzeczpospolita writes, the current Law and Justice (PiS) government has not taken in a single asylum seeker under the agreement. The daily added that Poland is the biggest beneficiary of EU structural funds for the 2014-2020 period.

The European Commission is currently revising the budget and any changes have to be accepted by all member states. It means that either Greece or Italy can veto the disbursement of EU funds to Poland.

European Commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, told Rzeczpospolita that the Commission would still be trying to push through a permanent mechanism for relocating refugees across the bloc, a measure which the Polish government has strongly opposed.

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