Hungary and Poland heat up the European summit with their opposition to the distribution of refugees

Hungary and Poland have been warning about this for some time: are not willing to resettle refugees nor to pay a penalty in case of refusal. Víktor Orbán and Mateusz Morawiecki wanted to raise the debate on the migration pact to the level of leaders. And his opportunity to fight comes this Thursday and Friday with the European summit in June.

The migration It is already anticipated as the subject that will monopolize the appointment. And the crashes don’t just come from the front of the usual suspects. A dozen countries, led by Austria and Denmark, have sent a previous letter demanding “innovative solutions”, a term and some requests that many capitals do not end up understanding.

A few weeks ago, the 27 interior ministers reached an agreement to distribute the asylum seekers who are waiting stranded in the front-line countries. But the option was also given to the most ultranationalists to avoid it with a financial compensation of 20,000 euros for each one.

A formula that neither in Warsaw nor Budapest buy, the EU illiberal axis, who insisted –unsuccessfully- on postponing the pact to discuss it at the highest level of State and Government leaders. Ultimately, it was adopted with his only vote against. By qualified majority.

And they land in the community capital with the intention of standing up. “Instead of stopping illegal immigration, Brussels wants to spend billions of euros on settle illegal migrants in Europe“, Orbán warned earlier in the run-up to the European summit.

“We will not accept any quotas or compensation for migrants. We will not accept any migration policy subordinated to other mechanisms serving the interests of other countries,” agrees his Polish counterpart, in a clear affront to the solidarity that Spain, Greece or Italy have been demanding for years in Brussels.

The great unknown is how both capitals are going to play their cards now. An alternative goes through the strategy of laissez faire. In other words, replicate its performance from 2016, the year in which the failed mandatory cast quotas were signed. They did not comply. They appealed to the European Court. And they ended up losing. But the process lasted for many years and when there was a final sentence, the quotas had already died in the block as a whole.

The second scenario is that they use you as a scapegoat blocking other measures that they do need unanimity to move forward. Hungary, in fact, is holding captive the new tranche of the European Peace Fund intended to finance the shipment of arms to Ukraine. This option would be especially problematic for the Spanish Presidencysince during the next six months there are many and very important legislations and high-voltage files pending, such as fiscal rules, climate laws or energy reform, which could be blocked.

The third possibility is that they join forces to veto conclusions on migration planned for this summit. In this sense, the draft being debated by the Twenty-seven affirms that the “EU remains committed to breaking the business model of human traffickers and tackling the root causes of irregular immigration.” Some terms that beyond paper basically translate into accelerating agreements with third countries, regardless of their internal situation or the democratic principles of their leaders.

No agreement, text or decision on far-reaching migration issues is expected from the European summit. But the debate between the leaders is expected to be emotional, intense and divisive. Nothing new for the last decade. The wayward from the East has been joined at the last minute by a group of 10 countries calling for stronger measures “and innovative”.

Among them is Denmark, whose government is in talks with Rwanda to deport asylum seekers there. For now, it is a lexicon that has puzzled many delegations. “The references to innovative solutions are vague. But for me and other countries it is clear that the outsourcing part is contrary to international law,” says a diplomatic source.

What generates the most consensus among the Twenty-seven is the idea of ​​accelerating agreements with third countries of origin and transit and putting all the focus on preventing migrants from reaching the coasts of the Old Continent. In 2020, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, was referring to Greece as “the shield of Europe”.

Three years later, different investigations have pointed to the Hellenic islands for their constant violations of human rights and fundamental, such as the universal right to request asylum. The result has been a non-policy that has turned a blind eye to these violations and to solutions and search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean that have left behind tragedies such as the recent one off the Greek islands, which has caused the death and disappearance of hundreds of people.

Wagner Group and Tunisia, the two protagonists

One of the priorities of the appointment is to put the agreement that Von der Leyen announced at the beginning of this month with Tunisia on track. The only case of success of the Arab spring is following the authoritarian drift that Syria or Egypt have already inaugurated. Tunisian President Kais Said, who governs by decree after dissolving Parliament in 2021, is crushing dissent and eliminating the separation of powers in the Maghreb country.

Brussels hopes to conclude a memorandum of understanding in the next ten days that ultimately seeks to shower the country with a billion euros to prevent it from collapsing financially and to shore up the immigration control on its coasts. The photograph joins the one that Europeans take with the Libyan coast guard, the dictator Abdelfatah al Sisi or the authoritarian Recep Tayyip Erodogan or Mohamed VI. “It does not mean that human rights are not discussed. If I do not speak to anyone who is strictly respectful of it, we would hardly speak to anyone,” diplomatic sources justify.

Roughly speaking, other European sources describe this week’s summit as the meeting of “unity, continuity and tenacity” around support for Ukraine and against external aggression. The 27 leaders will review the causes and consequences of the latest developments in Russia with the frustrated rebellion of the group of mercenaries Wagnerwhich will be “the elephant in the room”.

There will be closed-door debates but few explicit references (and none on paper) to avoid meddling in internal affairs. However, the letter of invitation from the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, leaves the message that “European unity contrasts with division in Russia demonstrated by the events of the past weekend”.

He cocktail Among the topics to be discussed during the double day is debating the freezing of assets for Russia, refocusing the foreign debate on China and Latin America and directing financial and military support to Ukraine.

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