Hungarian Prime Minister Orban has said the EU and Turkey are planning measures that would see half a million Syrian refugees relocated from Turkey. Slovakia has also filed suit against a possible refugee quota system.
Three days after a meeting between officials from the EU and Turkey about the refugee crisis, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said a "secret behind-the-scenes" deal was discussed at the gathering that would see Syrian refugees directly brought from Turkey to the EU and distributed among member nations.
"There's a nasty surprise awaiting Europe," Orban told Hungarian leaders in Budapest, adding that the plan is to be announced later this week.
According to Orban, the deal involves relocating 400,000 to 500,000 Syrian refugees currently in Turkey to the EU. He said countries like Hungary would face "huge pressure" to take some of these refugees. Orban has already stated Hungary's opposition regarding mandatory quotas for EU countries for resettling refugees.
A report from Reuters on Tuesday cited EU officials saying there were plans in the mix that would see refugees flown straight from Turkey to the EU, but the participating countries and exact numbers were not yet fixed. A plan from the European Commission is to be presented for discussion in time for an EU summit in mid-December. Germany is reported to be interested in taking part and participated in an informal discussion of the plan on the sidelines of Sunday's Turkey-EU meeting.
Slovakia: quotas have become a fiasco
Meanwhile, Slovakia filed a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice on Wednesday against the refugee redistribution policy of the EU that was agreed to - at least in principle - in September. So far, the plan to redistribute 160,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU member states has not gotten off the ground.
"I consider the quotas to be nonsensical and technically impossible," Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico was quoted by Reuters as saying on Wednesday. "Our words are being proven true, the quotas have become a fiasco."
Discussing the details of the existing resettlement plan is on the agenda of a meeting of EU diplomats on Friday.
Greek Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas told reporters on Wednesday that there was unofficial "pressure" on his country to do more to secure its borders, which constitute a boundary of the Schengen zone. Excluding Greece from the Schengen zone, which allows for free movement within the bloc of 26 nations, has been floated as a possible punishment should Greece fail to comply.
mz/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP dpa)