The EU faces its biggest existential crisis since Brexit as Hungary and Poland threaten the bloc’s new plan on migration, writes Jonathan Saxty in the British Daily Express newspaper.
The newspaper’s article states that a war of words had broken out between the EU’s “cultural Iron Curtain”, dividing a conservative-nationalist East from a liberal and secular West. This has come to the fore after Hungary and Poland opposed Brussels’ plan for migrant quotas. According to the plan, member states can either accept a number of asylum seekers into their territory (up to 30,000 annually), or if not, pay EUR 20,000 for each rejected illegal migrant.
The DE article rightly points out that Hungary and Poland fear that the goalposts could be moved at any time and they would be forced to start taking in higher numbers of people. Both countries regard the plan as coercive, and are refusing to agree to any “solidarity payments” for not accepting economic migrants.
The author of the article believes that should Budapest and Warsaw prevail in favoring better border protection instead of distributing illegal arrivals, this will be a challenge to Brussels not seen since Brexit. The article also points out that both member-states have made a challenge to the EU’s “qualified majority voting” which means that no country would have a right to veto. The Hungarian and Polish leaders sought to guarantee that future decisions on migration be arrived at through unanimity.
The DE article mentions the fact that this has caused a serious stalemate in the EU, while both Hungary and Poland are being prevented from accessing EU funds due to what Brussels sees as rule of law violations. The author believes that
So far as Hungary and Poland are concerned, this is all about coercing them towards liberal Western European-style policies… For EU member states like Hungary and Poland, they were subject to something of a bait-and-switch with the EU, believing they were joining a beefed-up trade bloc they quickly found themselves in an ideologically-liberal political union”.
The article concludes by saying that in the past the UK leaving the EU was the bloc’s worst nightmare, but now it is the continued membership of countries like Hungary and Poland.