EU Migrant Relocation Scheme Faces Court Challenge

Lester Mason
September 6, 2017

The Czech Republic and Romania also voted against the decision, with Finland abstaining, but chose not to challenge the Council's outcome.

The European Court of Justice has dismissed the entirety of the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary, and supported by Poland, on the relocation of asylum seekers in need of global protection.

The court said Wednesday that it had "dismissed in its entirety the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary".

Hungary and Slovakia argued at the Court of Justice that there were procedural mistakes, and that quotas were not a suitable response to the migrant crisis. "Time to work in unity and implement solidarity in full", said EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

In the latest twist to a dispute that broke out two years ago when more than one million migrants poured across the Mediterranean, the European Court of Justice found that the EU was entitled to order national governments to take in quotas of mainly Syrian refugees relocated from Italy and Greece.

However, countries like Germany and Italy which are housing large numbers have said the easterners are jeopardising western-funded European Union subsidies if they go on refusing, adding to deep strains in the bloc as it deals with Britain's imminent exit and a still limping economy. The formerly Communist nations in eastern Europe claimed they would struggle to absorb mainly Muslim refugees from Syria.

The ruling means that Hungary, Slovakia and other member states could face fines if they refuse to abide by the quota system.

This is mainly a result of a controversial deal the European Union signed with Turkey in March a year ago to send back migrants in return for billions of euros in aid and for admitting asylum seekers directly from refugee camps in Turkey.

Since compulsory quotas were introduced in September 2015, Hungary has not accepted a single asylum seeker, while almost 28,000 people have been relocated under the scheme, far below the 160,000 target. Under the policy, Hungary is required to take in 1,294 refugees and Slovakia 902.

In the proceedings before the Court, Poland has intervened in support of Slovakia and Hungary, while Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden and the Commission intervened in support of the Council.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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