EU Can Force Members to Take Refugees, Court Rules

Erica Roy
September 7, 2017

Hungary and Slovakia had asked the court to annul the scheme, claiming that "adoption of the decision was vitiated by errors of a procedural nature or arising from the choice of an inappropriate legal basis".

Hungary and Slovakia pledged not to change their opposition to taking in asylum seekers after the EU's top court on Wednesday (6 September) dismissed the two countries' complaints over the EU's migration quota scheme. "That mechanism actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate", the judges said in their ruling. However, at the moment were allocated only about 25 thousand people.

Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania opposed the plan, arguing they were not equipped to integrate people from mainly Muslim countries.

The EU win in court will likely deepen tensions between the 28-member bloc and Hungary, whose prime minister, Viktor Orban, has made his objection to the asylum policy a central focus of his leadership. Almost 80 percent arrived in Italy, with the rest divided among Greece, Cyprus and Spain.

It's not clear what consequences there will be, if any, for member states that refuse to take in migrants. Slovakia and Hungary insisted in their lawsuits that the quota mechanism should have been passed unanimously.

"If the member states do not change their approach in the coming weeks we should then consider to take the last step in the infringement procedure: to refer Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to the European Court of Justice".

In Budapest, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto called the court's decision "outrageous and irresponsible".

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He described the court's decision as political.

It is part of a scheme to relocate a total of 160,000 asylum seekers by September this year.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the ruling means eastern European members must abide by the refugee sharing scheme. "This decision jeopardises the security and future of all of Europe".

Iverna McGowan, director of the Amnesty International's European Institutions Office said: "Today's ruling shows that no country can hide from their responsibilities to refugees".

The EU's migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the court's decision was an opportunity to end in-fighting between member states.

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

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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