Even though the former Communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe have been asked to accept just a fraction of the refugees that Germany and other nations are taking, their fierce resistance now stands as the main impediment to a unified European response to the crisis.
Poland’s new president, Andrzej Duda, has complained about “dictates” from the European Union to accept migrants flowing onto the Continent from the Middle East and Africa.
Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, says his country will accept only Christian refugees as it would be “false solidarity” to force Muslims to settle in a country without a single mosque. Viktor Orban, Hungary’s hard-line prime minister, calls the influx a “rebellion by illegal migrants” and pledges a new crackdown this week. …
Few migrants, in fact, are particularly interested in settling in Eastern Europe, preferring to head to Germany or Scandinavia, where social welfare benefits are higher, employment opportunities greater and immigrant communities better established. In that sense, migrants are aligned with leaders in Eastern and Central European capitals, who frequently argue that the 28-member bloc should focus first on securing its borders and figuring out a way to end the war in Syria before talking about mandatory quotas for accepting refugees.