European Union threatens legal action against Poland over refugees

Tomas Mccoy
September 7, 2017

Hungary could be ordered to pay fines if it fails to take its quota of 1,294 people, though enforcement might require the European Commission, the bloc's administrative arm, to bring its own court case.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on September 6, 2017 to dismiss the lawsuit, filed by Slovakia and Hungary, against an EU institution.

Human rights group Amnesty International welcomed the ruling on the relocation of asylum seekers, saying Slovakia and Hungary have been trying to turn their countries into "refugee-free zones".

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 Court decreed that the relocation mechanism was not a measure that was inappropriate to achieving its objective, namely helping Greece and Italy to cope with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis. However, at the moment were allocated only about 25 thousand people.

Hungary and Poland have refused to take part, while Slovakia has only taken in a small number from Greece.

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. Of those, 19,200 were transferred from Greece and 8,212 from Italy. But he said his government still is not happy with the relocation plan, which he and others from Eastern Europe see as being imposed on their countries by non-elected European Union bureaucrats.

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

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto called the court ruling "outrageous and irresponsible".

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.

But Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said he accepted the court's decision.

Hungary's government built security fences on its borders with Serbia and Croatia two years ago to stop refugees and migrants entering the country along the so-called "Balkan route" from Turkey to Germany.

"The EU-Turkey statement continues to work and deliver results", Avramopoulos said, adding that migrant arrivals in Greece from Turkey had dropped 97 per cent since the deal began in March 2016.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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