Earlier this week, the European Commission announced it would sue Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary over their refusal to take in more refugees.
These three eastern European countries have bridged the gap between their poorer Eastern counterparts still partly stuck in corrupt and old regimes (Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia) and the richer Western European bloc (Germany, France, Benelux and the Scandinavian countries) the easiest thanks to stellar economic growth in the past decade but are still reluctant to take in any refugees which have arrived in droves from the middle east.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">You can't fool all of the people, all of the time, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EU?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EU</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Polexit?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Polexit</a> <a href="https://t.co/iMq7dJTFMX">https://t.co/iMq7dJTFMX</a></p>— MJW (@fo77owme) <a href="https://twitter.com/fo77owme/status/940863707265028097?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Hungary’s prime minister Orban reacted with dismissal, whilst the Czech Republic mostly awaits what bigger neighbor Poland does before reacting.
And Poland did react, harshly. Their conservative government has of course been on a collision course with the European Commission for a long time, mostly over their newly adopted press coverage law which the EC says forbids an open press in the 40 million strong countries.
Poland’s Prawo I Sprawiedliwość party (the conservative Law and Justice party) even says Polexit (a polish exit from the EC) is now a possibility, and the UK press, eager to find an ally to get better conditions for their Brexit, is jumping on the news.
If the refugee row, which has no legal foreground in the EU conditions, meaning the European Commission can’t exactly force these countries to accept refugees if they don’t want to, escalates further it could push the populist mood in Poland towards moving out of the bloc, as the people have understood perfectly well that the Polish economy is strong enough on its own, according to Ms. Renata Mienkowska, a political scientist at the University of Warsaw.
Professor Mienkowska stated: “The EU has tried to intervene on several occasions, but too little and too late. Unanimity is needed for the withdrawal of the right to vote in the European Council - it does not exist because Hungary is on the side of Poland.”
“Only action against both countries at once would work. But within the EU people still shy away from this last resort.”