Visegrad group’s ‘flexible solidarity’ idea gains traction in EU

The “flexible solidarity” plan for immigration policy proposed by the Visegrad Group is gaining support in the EU, with European Parliament head Martin Schulz and German MEP Manfred Weber expressing support for the idea over the weekend.

The plan was proposed by the V4, comprising Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, before the informal EU summit in Bratislava earlier this month.

It generally stipulates that the member states themselves – based on their potential and experience – would decide how they participate in the EU’s migration policy and in solving the refugee crisis, and that participation in refugee distribution programs should be voluntary.

This would mean turning away from relocation and migrant quotas, a system that proved largely ineffective since its introduction last year, with only 5,300 refugees relocated out of 160,000. Poland is among several countries that have not taken anyone in as part of the relocation program.

Manfred Weber, an influential German politician, the head of the largest faction in the European Parliament – the Christian Democrats (CSU) – said in an interview for German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ):

“Flexible solidarity is the only way leading forward.”

European Parliament head Martin Schulz, in an interview for the same newspaper published on Sunday, said that few countries take up the issue of refugees and many run away from it.

“I’ll be glad if the four Visegrad Group countries are ready to talk at least about greater financial involvement. It would be good if we accepted this offer,” he said.

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