Hungary, migrants, refugees, FAH-H9218138.jpg
Photograph: EPA

Legal action may be required to enforce a plan to share the burden of refugees among European Union member states, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told news magazine Der Spiegel in a report published Saturday.

Steinmeier was referencing several central and eastern European member states including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, which have voiced staunch opposition to obligatory migrant quotas.

"If there is no other way, the issue will have to be resolved by legal action," said Steinmeier. He was referencing the possibility of pursuing an infringement case with the European Commission or the European Court of Justice, the report said.

Poland has indicated it will retreat on an EU-wide quota commitment despite the fact that its outgoing centre-right government agreed to it in September.

In the Spiegel interview, Steinmeier warned Poland not to jeopardize the "relationship of trust that we have worked so hard to build since the fall of the Iron Curtain 25 years ago."

Member states had agreed in September to redistribute about 160,000 refugees from countries including Greece and Italy, which have borne the brunt of an unprecedented influx of new arrivals fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

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