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30 Jun, 2018 23:30

What consent? Hungary, Poland & Czech Republic deny sealing migrant deal with Merkel

What consent? Hungary, Poland & Czech Republic deny sealing migrant deal with Merkel

Three EU countries have denied reaching any final agreement with Germany on the return of migrants to the country of entry, despite Angela Merkel’s claim she’d received “political consent” from 14 EU nations to strike such a deal.

“No such deal has been reached,” spokesman for Hungary’s government Zoltan Kovacs said, adding that Budapest has repeatedly rejected German attempts to “return” migrants to their first country of entry into the EU. Similar statements have been produced by Poland and the Czech Republic, which also denied reaching any agreements on the matter.

“There are no any new agreements regarding the reception of asylum seekers from EU countries, we confirm (that), like the Czech Republic and Hungary,” Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Artur Lompart said.

Earlier on Saturday, media reported that, during the EU summit, 14 European countries, including some outspoken opponents of German Chancellor’s ‘open door’ policy, had allegedly “consented on a political level” to make a deal on taking migrants back. The document on the deal has been sent by Merkel to her coalition partners, according to Reuters.

“At the moment, Dublin repatriations from Germany succeed in only 15 percent of cases,” the document says, as quoted by Reuters. “We will sign administrative agreements with various member states... to speed the repatriation process and remove obstacles.”

According to the EU agreement on migrants, known as the Dublin Accord, the country of “first entry” is responsible for accommodating new arrivals. If the applicant moves to another EU state, that state may request the “country of the first entry” to take the applicant back. In practice, the “first entry” provision effectively means that the first country to actually register a migrant becomes ultimately responsible for them. Such practice has caused tensions between the EU members, with Greece and Italy repeatedly accused of pushing migrants deeper into Europe, without registering them. The Dublin Accord was largely suspended, following Merkel’s landmark decision to open borders and welcome all migrants to Germany, made in 2015.

“It is impossible for a migrant to enter Hungary without entering an EU member earlier,” Kovacs stated. “In 2015 the Germans tried to make us the first country of entry, but we rejected that already then.”

While Hungary has an external border with a non-EU country, Serbia, the vast majority of migrants preferred to take the Mediterranean Sea route to Europe, landing in Greece or Italy.

The looming EU deal on migrants is vastly perceived as “Merkel-saving,” since her key ally and new Interior Minister Horst Seehofer threatened to start rejecting undocumented migrants at Germany’s border. In the worst-case scenario, the disagreement between them might spell the end for 70-years-long union between Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Seehofer’s Christian Social Union (CSU), which would effectively lead to the downfall of Germany’s government and Chancellor.

Meanwhile, the “consent,” which Merkel supposedly received from the 14 EU countries has been already hailed by the Bavarian CSU Prime Minister Markus Soeder, who said it was a step in “absolutely the right direction.”

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