Hungary and Poland block the immigration announcement at the EU summit in Granada

Hungary and Poland block the immigration announcement at the EU summit in Granada

The heads of state of Croatia, Hungary, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Greece with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission during the EU summit in Granada.Reuters photo

Due to Polish-Hungarian resistance, there was no immigration paragraph in the Granada Statement, much to the frustration of host Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain. In recent weeks, he has been pushing for an ambitious text on the future of the European Union, including dealing with illegal immigration. Under pressure from most EU leaders, the draft text for Granada was limited to just two pages of generalities. Diplomats in the corridors spoke of the “big nothing” announcement. But it was also too much for Poland and Hungary.

Arriving on Friday for a meeting with his EU colleagues, Orban made clear there was no chance of reaching an agreement. “Not today and not in the coming years.” He was angry at member states’ decision earlier this week to distribute migrants more fairly across EU countries in the event of migration crises. Poland and Hungary opposed the resolution but were outvoted.

Scrap stairs

“We were legally raped,” Urban said. “And if you have to accept something you don’t want, how can you reach an agreement?” Morawiecki attacked his rival, Donald Tusk, in next week’s Polish elections. Tusk is expected to approve European immigration plans, which, according to Morawiecki, require his country to accept large numbers of immigrants. He said he would stop “this madness.”

Outgoing Hungarian Prime Minister Mark Rutte described his colleague’s statements as “nonsense.” The Polish-Hungarian position made it impossible to issue a final joint statement. The immigration paragraph had to be deleted and presented as the conclusions of European Union President Charles Michel.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said afterwards that she was confident that the EU’s new migration policy would be adopted in the coming months, despite angry resistance from Warsaw and Budapest. “Migration will always be there, and it is a matter of managing it well,” von der Leyen said.

Michel’s conclusion, which is supported by von der Leyen and the leaders of the other 25 EU governments, emphasizes improved border controls and agreements with African countries to stop migrants. The 25 leaders also promised more opportunities for legal labor migration. “This makes it easier to combat illegal immigration,” von der Leyen said.

Ukraine

The leaders also discussed for the first time what consequences the European Union might face if it no longer consisted of 27 but 36 countries, including Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkans. According to Michel, the Union will have to determine in the near future what matters are still eligible for EU subsidies, how they should be paid, and how the EU, which includes 36 member states, can act decisively.

The leaders did not commit to a date when the European Union would be ready to receive the new arrivals. Michel had previously insisted on this, calling for 2030. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas described that as “very far away.” But most other leaders fear that this date will be interpreted as a promise on the part of the candidate countries, which will prevent them from implementing the required reforms.

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