Court rejects Hungary, Slovakia migrant relocation case

Court rejects Hungary, Slovakia migrant relocation case

In a strongly worded ruling, the European Court of Justice said that the EU was within its rights to order members to take in refugees from Greece and Italy, where almost 200,000 asylum seekers, mainly from Syria, remain stranded amid a grinding migration crisis.

The European Court of Justice [official website] on Wednesday ruled [judgment] that Slovakia and Hungary must host asylum seekers as a part of the EU migration policy [EU materials]. So, according to the judges, this mechanism of distribution of refugees "contributes to the fact that Greece and Italy were able to cope with the effects of the migration crisis of 2015".

Poland and Hungary have not accepted any refugees as part of an European Union programme to relocate migrants fleeing the war-torn Middle East and Africa from camps in Italy and Greece, while the Czech Republic has taken no action in almost a year.

Poland initially supported the plan but has come out strongly opposed since a right-wing government came to power.

"But we should be clear that member states have to show solidarity now because it is now that some member states need help".

In its ruling Wednesday, the court rejected all the arguments brought by Hungary and Slovakia.

"ECJ confirms relocation scheme valid". Slovakia and Hungary challenged the decision. "Solidarity can not be a la carte", Avramopoulos said, referring to a recent request by Budapest to the European Union commission to finance its border fence.

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

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.

The case has highlighted a deep divide in the European Union as it has fumbled for a joint solution to the mass arrivals that have strained resources, roiled politics, and prompted outcries from human rights defenders who warn that the bloc risks violating global law on the treatment of refugees.

"The Hungarian government considers today's decision by the European court to be appalling and irresponsible", Szijjarto said at a news conference. 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.

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