Hungary and Slovakia must stick or twist — European Union refugee ruling

by Antonio Miles September 7, 2017, 1:51

Viktor Orban, Hungary's combative prime minister, is the most exposed as the European Court of Justice's judgment closes down his last legal avenue of defiance.

"Politics has raped European law and values", he said.

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.

In other news, the European Union said the bloc's migrant agreement with Turkey was working well but that more effort was needed to speed asylum applications.

The European Commission, the EU executive, welcomed the ECJ ruling.

As a result in 2015 EU leaders agreed a plan to relocate asylum seekers to other EU countries to spread the burden - with EU leaders agreeing the policy by majority vote despite opposition from Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Romania.

"The Slovak appeal did not concern the fact of whether or not Slovakia must take in migrants, " Peter Susko said in commenting on the sentence to ANSA.

On Wednesday in Luxembourg, the court dismissed the countries' challenge to the plan "in their entirety", citing European Union law allowing measures to respond to "an emergency situation characterized by a sudden flow of displaced persons".

Fico says the 2015 plan to relocate 160,000 refugees from Greece and Italy over two years was a temporary solution that will cease to be effective on Sept 26.

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European leaders agreed in September 2015 to relocate a total of 160,000 migrants "in clear need of worldwide protection" from Italy and Greece to other EU countries over two years.

According to the International Organization for Migration, 125,860 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year.

The European Union has launched cases against Poland and Hungary as well as the Czech Republic and Slovakia - the latter two have only taken in about a dozen migrants under the 2015 plan.

"Due to the ongoing instability and conflicts in the immediate neighborhood of Italy and Greece, and the repercussions in migratory flows on other member states, it is very likely that a significant and increased pressure will continue to be put on their migration and asylum systems, with a significant proportion of the migrants who may be in need of worldwide protection", the Court of Justice found Wednesday.

As Deutsche Welle reports, "Only 24,000. refugees from Greece and Italy have been transferred to other states". "This decision jeopardizes the security and future of all of Europe".

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. "Under the policy, Hungary is required to take in 1,294 refugees and Slovakia 902".

"The lesson of the verdict is that helping people fleeing war and terror is truly a common responsibility for Europe", the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, which provides free legal assistance to asylum seekers, said in a statement quoted by AP.

The programme is considered a key part of the EU's migration policy.

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