Plans to punish eastern European Union states that refuse to host refugees by pulling their funds is unacceptable, according to Estonia’s Interior Minister Andres Anvelt. His country is poised to assume the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in July.
In an interview with the Reuters news agency, he said this policy would divide Europe rather than unite it.
“I don’t think any punishing through budget or through some financial punishment is good because we understand Europe is a family of very different countries,” he said in a telephone interview from Tallinn.
“We have to look very much into the future not to break something. We don’t need any more exits, it would make the European Union weaker.”
Some 1.7 million refugees and migrants have arrived in the EU since 2014 and the bloc has been at loggerheads over how to handle them, the bitter disagreements eating at the member states’ unity they desperately need to handle the loss of member Britain, reported Reuters.
Meanwhile, Poland has welcomed Estonia’s stance on this issue. Polish media reported on June 15 that their country has gained a new ally on imposing the EU’s refugee quotas.