EU Leaders Still Disagree over Refugee Quotas

European Union leaders met on Thursday in Brussels to discuss the refugee quotas issue, and put an end to the rifts among them.

According to Reuters, there was a free discussion over dinner; that continued until the early morning hours, in an effort to reconcile opposing views regarding the handling of refugees.

However, the Reuters report says, the discussion failed to put an end to the disagreements, pitting some eastern states against many of the rest.

“We have a lot of work to do,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters. “The positions have not changed.”

According to sources close to the Greek government, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to make it clear that Greece will not accept any change to the existing agreement, especially in the provision for the  compulsory relocation of migrants to other EU member states. Greece and Italy bear the brunt of being the entry points of migrants from Turkey and North Africa.

The particular provision to share the burden of the refugee overflow has poisoned relations between EU member states.

The Polish, Czech, Hungarian and Slovakian leaders stuck to their position that their societies cannot accept significant migrant numbers, especially of Muslims.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis called the Greek prime minister “quite aggressive.” But, he said, the eastern allies would not let the majority impose obligatory refugee quotas on them.

Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni also stuck to their original line, that all countries take in a mandatory share of asylum seekers who have been concentrated on the Mediterranean coast.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he would not rule out ramming through mandatory relocation quotas by majority vote next year.