Poland and Hungary against migration pact says EU source

Poland's Permanent Representative at the EU, Andrzej Sadoś, called on the EU Spanish Presidency to do its best so that consensus could be reached during further work on a migration and asylum policy reform in accordance with earlier decisions taken by European Council, which placed the emphasis on voluntary support for countries under migration pressure. Stephanie Lecocq/PAP/EPA

Poland and Hungary voted against the last part of an EU migrant relocation pact during a meeting of ambassadors of EU countries in Brussels on Wednesday, PAP was told by a Brussels source.

The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria abstained from the vote.

Poland has been a steadfast opponent of the EU scheme because it considers the obligatory solidarity element of the plan, which involves financial punishment for the non-acceptance of migrants, as completely inappropriate.

"Poland will strongly veto and block the adoption of any conclusions, which will include the obligation to accept illegal migrants," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters later on Wednesday.

".. as I am going to Granada tomorrow to attend an EU summit, I can promise all my compatriots that Poland will surely do this," the prime minister said, adding that, as the migration pact included such an obligation, Poland would firmly oppose it.

In early June, the EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council, which comprises the interior ministers representing EU member states, approved the new pact on migration and asylum.

Under the draft regulation, EU members will have to accept an initial quota of 30,000 migrants from countries bearing the brunt of migration from the Middle East and Africa, such as Greece and Italy, or pay about EUR 22,000 per non-admitted migrant.

Poland and Hungary were against the new rules, but were outvoted.

As the majority vote went through on Wednesday, the decision opened up the way for negotiations with the European Parliament on the final shape of the new migration regulations.

Before the holidays, the mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament was blocked as it had not been supported by Poland, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia and the Netherlands.

Germany changed its position in September.

Poland's Permanent Representative at the EU, Andrzej Sadoś, called on the EU Spanish Presidency to do its best so that consensus could be reached during further work on a migration and asylum policy reform in accordance with earlier decisions taken by European Council, which placed the emphasis on voluntary support for countries under migration pressure.

Some EU countries, including Poland, have recently reintroduced border checks in response to increased migration affecting some of the bloc's member states.

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