Court rejects Hungary, Slovakia migrant relocation case

Court rejects Hungary, Slovakia migrant relocation case

Court rejects Hungary, Slovakia migrant relocation case

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.

"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", Szydlo told reporters at a business conference. "The door remains, it is still open, and we should convince all member states to fulfill their commitments", he said.

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".

"If the member states that have not relocated at all or not for a long time do not change their approach in the coming weeks, we should then consider to take the last step in the infringement procedure, taking Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to the European Court of Justice".

The system was adopted in 2015 at the height of asylum seekers' migration to Europe to escape wars and terrorism in the Middle East and Africa.

While Wednesday's ruling does not have direct consequences on Hungary's and Slovakia's policy, it could increase pressure on eastern and central European member states to take in people from Greece and Italy. "Hungary needs to respect the decision of the European Union court".

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At his press conference following the ruling the Commissioner Mr Avramopoulos downplayed any suggestion that the countries could be kicked out of the European Union for not complying.

"ECJ confirms relocation scheme valid". 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.

"Today's ruling shows that no country can hide from their responsibilities to refugees", Iverna McGowan, Director of Amnesty's European Institutions Office, said in a statement.

Slovakia prime minister Robert Fico said his government "fully respects the court's decision" but added that the quotas were "politically wrong".

Slovakia has accepted about 16 refugees as of July 2017.

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

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