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EU Says Will Not Drop Case Against Poland Over Migrants

The European Union’s executive arm on Thursday said it would not withdraw its legal proceedings against Poland over migrant relocation quotas.

On Wednesday, the foreign ministry in Warsaw said it had asked the European Commission to drop a legal case against Poland over its refusal to accept migrants from states under pressure in the EU’s migration crisis.

"Poland has sent a motion to the European Commission requesting it to discontinue its ongoing infringement procedure,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

It also said that Poland was prepared to argue its case before the EU Court of Justice if the European Commission decided to continue its proceedings.

Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein told a media briefing in Brussels on Thursday that the EU executive was not considering withdrawing the case.

A month ago, the European Commission sent so-called reasoned opinions to the authorities in Warsaw, Prague and Budapest – as part of the second stage of its “infringement procedure” - and gave Poland as well as Hungary and the Czech Republic a month to respond.

“Despite repeated calls for action and the launch of infringement procedures by the Commission last month, these three countries remain in breach of their legal obligations and have shown disregard for their commitments to Greece, Italy and other Member States,” the commission said in a statement at the time.

Poland and Hungary have not accepted any refugees as part of an EU programme to relocate migrants fleeing the war-torn Middle East and Africa from camps in Italy and Greece, while the Czech Republic has taken no action in nearly a year.

In September 2015, EU leaders agreed that each country would accept a number of migrants over two years to alleviate the pressure on Greece and Italy, which have seen the arrival of tens of thousands of people from the Middle East and Africa.

EU leaders agreed to relocate a total of about 160,000 migrants of more than 2 million people who arrived in Europe since 2015.

The conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government in Warsaw has said that migrants pose a security threat. (str)

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