Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia did not attend an emergency meeting of other EU leaders on migration on June 24 in a joint boycott that was a manifestation of disdain for the EU’s current migration policy, especially of the quota system.
The four Central European member states have long said that the quota system, proposed by the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, should be replaced by a solution worked out in the European Council by political leaders. It currently obliges member states to take in migrants to relieve pressure on countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain, where thousands of people arrive by sea.
The populist governments in Warsaw and Budapest are against migration from Africa and Asia in particular, branding it a national threat. Poland and Hungary often criticise Germany for what they see as too lax a migration policy.
"We understand that there are internal political difficulties in some countries, but this cannot result in some pan-European frenzy," Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a statement.
That was an apparent swipe at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is struggling to agree on a migration policy within her own government.
Hungary has recently tightened migration-related laws in a move that drew criticism from the EU and human rights groups.
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