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EU Court Unlikely To Rule In Favour Of Hungary And Slovakia In Migrant Quota Case

By Tamás Székely // 2017.07.26.

The top European court’s advocate general said on Wednesday that the case launched by Slovakia and Hungary challenging the legality of the European Union’s refugee resettlement scheme should be dismissed.

At the EU’s Luxembourg-based Court of Justice, Slovakia and Hungary have defended their refusal to take in asylum seekers, claiming the 2015 EU scheme to relocate refugees on a mandatory basis was unlawful. The Advocate General Yves Bot (pictured above) said the resettlement scheme was “appropriate for attaining the objective which it pursues”.

“That mechanism is actually a proportionate means of enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis,” Bot said in a press release. The advocate general does not tie the hands of judges but normally they uphold his opinion. It is expected that the judges will make a ruling in the autumn at the latest.

Hungarian reaction

Hungary’s foreign minister, Péter Szijjartó, said in response that the opinion of the top court’s adviser “completely fits with the process that is called the Soros plan”.  Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday on a different topic, Szijjártó said, referring to US financier George Soros: “With all the pomp of a head of state, Soros was received in Brussels and afterwards, interestingly, all European institutions put even greater pressure on Hungary and central European countries to receive illegal migrants.” “We do not want to accept illegal migrants; we await for the court’s decision,” he added.

The Foreign Minister said Hungary still regarded the decision on mandatory relocations of migrants according to a quota system as a violation of European law. He said Brussels did not have the right to deprive sovereign states of the right to decide whom to allow on to their territory. The European treaties clearly state that this right cannot be taken away, he added.  Péter Szijjartó said it was the government’s first duty and obligation to protect Hungarians and ensure their safety. It will do everything in its power to make sure that illegal migrants “do not come here”, he added.

Brussels’ reaction

European commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said the European Commission (EC) was ready to work with member states that currently oppose the resettlement scheme and address their concerns if they change their position.

“We are finally starting to see proper solidarity,” Avramopoulos said, and welcomed that more and more people were being relocated from Italy and Greece to other member states. But he regretted that some member states “continue to show no solidarity and to ignore our repeated calls to participate in this common effort”.

“New phase”

Meanwhile, the European Commission said it initiated a new phase of the infringement procedure it has started in June against Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic for rejecting the European Union’s mandatory refugee resettlement quota scheme.

The EC on Wednesday sent a “reasoned opinion” — the second phase of the infringement procedure — to those countries on Wednesday. The three countries have one month to undertake measures to meet their legal obligations, or the EC will turn to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

via MTI; photo: AFP