Blackmail! Fury as EU tells Britain: Agree to quote for migrants or you will be barred from deporting thousands

  • Under Dublin Regulation, UK allowed to return migrants to ‘point of entry’ 
  • More than 12,000 people have been sent to other EU countries since 2003
  • But Brussels officials plan to link deportation scheme to refugee quota 

David Cameron will be given an ultimatum by Brussels that the country must join a controversial quota scheme to take new arrivals from Greece or Italy or face being stopped from using EU deportation rules to its advantage.

Eurosceptics last night accused the EU of ‘mafia-style blackmail’ to force the UK to submit to their refugee relocation plan.

Under Dublin Regulation, UK allowed to return migrants to 'point of entry', wherever that was on the continent

 The move will throw the Prime Minister’s renegotiation of Britain’s EU membership into turmoil ahead of the referendum.

Under the EU’s Dublin Regulation the UK is allowed to return migrants to their point of entry in the continent.

More than 12,000 people have been removed from Britain to other EU countries under these rules since 2003 – a figure the Home Office has boasted is ‘many more than we have received in return’.

However, Brussels officials plan to link the deportation scheme to its unpopular refugee quotas.

That would force those wanting to use the Dublin rules to sign up to the relocation scheme as well. So far Britain has been able to refuse to take part in the quota system because of its opt-out on asylum issues.

 But in proposals to be officially unveiled in March, the Dublin Regulation will be overhauled to include a mandatory mechanism sharing would-be refugees arriving on the frontline between EU member states.

It would mean that, if Britain wanted to be able to deport asylum seekers who have travelled through other EU countries first, it would have to take refugees.

Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman, of Conservatives for Britain, last night told the Mail: ‘This is a complete disgrace. It’s clear we no longer have control of our borders, just the controls the EU allows us if we are lucky. The linkage between the two is mafia-style blackmail.’

An EU source said: ‘The UK retains the right to choose whether or not they participate in the new system.’

The European Council president warned yesterday that the EU will face the collapse of its Schengen border-free travel area unless migration policy is sorted out before the March summit. Donald Tusk told MEPs: ‘We have no more than two months to get things under control.’

More than 12,000 people have been sent to other EU countries from Britain since 2003. Pictured: Migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan walk in very cold weather, through snow in Macedonia to a camp

  Tusk warns Europe has two months to tackle migrant crisis

 Meanwhile more migrants are arriving in Greece – the gateway to the EU – by boat each day than the figure for the whole of January last year. In the first 18 days of 2016, 31,244 people have come ashore on the country’s islands at a rate of 1,735 a day.

Some 1,472 migrants were recorded crossing the Aegean in the whole of January last year.

The International Organization for Migration warned the surge suggests the number arriving in Greece in 2016 ‘may significantly exceed the record 853,650 migrants’ who arrived last year.

Although the number is down on the 108,742 that arrived in December, it has set off alarm bells that the situation is much worse than a year ago.

Westminster insiders said the revelations made the prospect of David Cameron holding his EU referendum in June even more likely. Number Ten is concerned that, if this summer brings an influx even greater than last year, it could tip the contest in favour of the Leave campaign.

And the world’s financial watchdog warned last night that Europe is being overwhelmed by a ‘tide’ of migrants and the jobs market may be unable to cope.

But Brussels officials plan to link deportation scheme to the controversial refugee quota, which Britain has so far resisted signing up to

The IMF said the EU was struggling to absorb the vast numbers of new arrivals and a strong response was ‘critical’.

Cabinet minister Chris Grayling, who is expected to be a leading figure in the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, also warned there were ‘some really difficult times ahead for countries in central Europe in dealing with the incredible flow of migration that just continues day by day, week by week’.

The surge in the number arriving on the Greek islands shows that the deal where EU countries agreed to hand over £2.1billion to Turkey to stem the flow has failed to make a difference.

Austria has announced that its army will start carrying out thorough identity and bag checks of every migrant arriving at the main border crossing with Slovenia from today.

 Migrants headed for Austria arrive in freezing Slovenia

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