Werner Faymann, the Austrian chancellor, warned he would block Britain’s negotiation package unless Mr Cameron showed “solidarity” and accepted a greater share of the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers flooding into the EU.
He warned that Austria would raise the issue of migration to a forthcoming round of EU budget talks.
“The next financial framework negotiations are coming up,” Mr Faymann told Austrian television.
“When I think of the British, who have their own catalogue of demands, why should we do anything for them? Because, you have to say, solidarity is not a one-way street.”
Photo: Barcroft Media
Britain’s refusal to take part in a common EU asylum sharing programme is causing private irritation in many EU capitals, not least as Mr Cameron focuses on cutting immigration from EU citizens.
But this is the first time a European leader has publicly attempted to strongarm the United Kingdom by tying the reform package to the migration crisis engulfing the continent.
On Tuesday Natasha Bertaud, an EU migration spokesman, said several EU countries have been threatened with legal action for failing to properly apply the bloc’s laws for asylum seekers.
She declined to name the countries targeted from the 28-nation bloc but confirmed the move involved at least 10 countries, which had not been properly fingerprinting asylum-seekers, and which had failed to respect migrant rights or procedures on who should qualify for protection.
Countries who provided substandard reception conditions were also threatened by the EU. The Commission has already opened 32 legal cases against EU countries over asylum laws.
And while the politicians debated whose responsibility it was, the migrants continued to trudge, climb and scramble into Europe.
In Germany, trains carrying a record 2,200s migrant arrived in the country’s key southern border region with Austria in the 24 hours to yesterday morning.
Germany has become the top destination for migrants seeking refuge in Europe, and expects to receive 800,000 this year, a record number and four times as many as in 2014.
The country’s first reception centre opened in Bavaria yesterday, designed to house only migrants from south eastern Europe – as part of an effort to deal more quickly with people flooding in from the Balkans, whose chances of being allowed to stay are minimal.
The centre, at a former barracks near Ingolstadt, provides a home for 500 migrants and will try to process their asylum claims within six weeks. Germany has been trying to stem an influx of arrivals this year from countries such as Kosovo, Albania and Serbia, who have virtually no chance of being granted asylum.
Meanwhile, in the German capital Angela Merkel met with Mariano Rajoy – her Spanish counterpart – who admitted that Spain could do more to assist. Last year figures from Eurostat showed Mr Rajoy’s country took in 1,600 asylum seekers – compared to over 14,000 accepted by Britain.
Spain has so far agreed to take 2,739 more, and Mr Rajoy refused to rule out accepting quotas – depending on the criteria, he said.
Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, however, have refused to back down on the issue of quotas.
Hungary, one of the hardest-hit nations in Europe’s immigration crisis,says over 156,000 migrants have entered this year. And on Tuesday the government of hardline prime minister Viktor Orban said that 3,500 troops were being sent to police Hungary’s border with Serbia – along which Hungary has built a heavily-criticised fence.
Antal Rogan, the parliament caucus leader of Mr Orban’s Fidesz party, said “the very existence of Christian Europe” was under threat.
“Would we like our grandchildren to grow up in a United European Caliphate? My answer to that is no,” he said.
And further back along the “pipeline” into Europe, the problems continued.
In Macedonia, where about 1,500 migrants are waiting to cross the border, fights broke out among frustrated migrants wanting to cross into Greece.
In Greece, the authorities in Athens sent ferries to take 4,000 people off the eastern Aegean islands, which are struggling to cope with the influx.