European Union wins legal battle on refugee quotas

European Union wins legal battle on refugee quotas

Slovakia and Hungary filed a complaint [text] arguing that it was illegal for Brussels to require them to take in hundreds of Syrian refugees and that it would destabilize their economies.

The EU's top court on Wednesday dismissed a challenge by Slovakia and Hungary over the bloc's mandatory refugee quota program, an issue that has divided eastern European states from other members.

The court said Wednesday that it had "dismissed in its entirety the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary".

As you know, the program of distribution of refugees, adopted in September 2015 by a majority of member States of the European Union, provided for the distribution of 160 thousand asylum seekers among European Union countries.

"The real battle is only just beginning, and Hungary will be making use of all opportunities for legal redress to ensure that nobody can be relocated to Hungary against the wishes of the Hungarian people", Mr Szijjarto said. Hungary and Poland have not accepted any migrants within the mechanism, while the Czech Republic stopped accepting refugees in August 2016.

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The EU's refugee relocation scheme is 'proportionate, ' says the court.

"I was convinced that such a decision would be made [by the court], but this absolutely does not change the stance of the Polish government with respect to migration policy", Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo said on Wednesday.

'This decision practically and openly legitimates the power of the European Union above the member states'.

While Hungary and Slovakia have now failed in their legal challenge to the policy, that doesn't fix the political problem.

The court added that although pledges by European Union counties to take in asylum seekers are slow - it blamed a "lack of cooperation on the part of certain member states" - the legality of the decision was not affected by the policy's success.

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European Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos had said he regretted how certain member states "continue to show no solidarity and to ignore our repeated calls to participate in this common effort".

As Deutsche Welle reports, "Only 24,000. refugees from Greece and Italy have been transferred to other states".

Under the emergency scheme, 120,000 relocations were due to take place over two years, ending in September 2017.

The European Commission has already launched an "infringement procedure" against the three nations for failing to take, or not recently accepting, refugees who have arrived in Italy and Greece in the last two years.

He said migrant arrivals in Greece from Turkey had dropped 97 percent since the deal in March past year, and that more than 8,800 Syrians in Turkey had now found homes in Europe.

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Amnesty International welcomed the court's decision.

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