Hungary and Slovakia Lose in Fight Over EU Migrant Quotas

Jay Jacobs
September 7, 2017

In their legal challenge Hungary and Slovakia argued at the ECJ that the policy exposed them to the risk of Islamist terrorism, because numerous migrants are Muslims.

The quotas' legality was confirmed on Wednesday morning, when judges at the European Court of Justice threw out a joint legal challenge against them by Hungary and Slovakia.

The EU on Wednesday won a high-level legal battle against eastern European countries that have refused to admit thousands of asylum seekers based on mandatory quotas for the bloc's member states.

The mechanism helps frontier countries like Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis, and the European Union court said the action was proportionate.

The two countries defied an European Union plan to resettle 120,000 registered refugees across the 28 member states through a quota system.

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

The verdict was welcomed by the European Commission, the executive of the 28-nation bloc. Almost 80 percent arrived in Italy, with the rest divided among Greece, Cyprus and Spain.

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Fico repeatedly labelled the Council decision illegitimate, claiming that it violates the rights of the European Parliament and the national parliaments. That entailed closer "relationships with key third countries like Niger and Libya, or simply providing cash to encourage governments to limit flows", she said, referring to funding for programs like job creation and for security measures to keep migrants from attempting the hazardous trip to Europe.

Commenting on the court's decision, the EU's migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said member states should swiftly move on relocating asylum seekers.

Avramopoulos said the ECJ's decision is encouraging and that he hoped to reach a final compromise by the end of the year.

Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák said that Slovakia should not go against the ruling, and that the government will decide on further steps, the ČTK newswire reported.

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

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".

Slovakia is not included in the legal action as it recently agreed to host a few refugees. So far only 25,000 refugees have been moved.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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