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Court of Justice ECJ rules Hungary, Slovakia obliged to accept refugees from Greece & Italy

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Wednesday dismissed a challenge by Slovakia and Hungary against the EU’s relocation policy for asylum seekers, upholding the EU’s right to oblige member countries to take in refugees.

In response to the migration crisis that hit Europe in the summer of 2015, the Council of the European Union demanded that member countries should help Italy and Greece deal with the migrant arrivals. Slovakia and Hungary challenged the decision, and were later supported by Poland.

“The mechanism actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate,” the ECJ said in a statement announcing its ruling.

The agreement provided for the relocation of up to 160,000 people across member countries, but only about 25,000 have been transferred so far.

The court decision means that the mandatory aspect of the relocation program is legal. Hungary, Slovakia and Poland had all advocated for a completely voluntary system.

The original relocation scheme will expire this month, but the European Commission has made clear that it will be extended. However, Commission officials have also made clear they now want to give the countries that objected to the scheme some time to implement it.

Parallel to the court case, in June the European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Hungary and Poland, for not having taken in any refugees under the scheme so far.

Slovakia has accepted just 16 refugees out of the 902 it was supposed to take.


The ECJ ruling was greeted by Ska Keller, co-Chair of Parliament’s Greens/EFA group and European Parliament’s rapporteur on relocation decisions.

“Now that the ECJ has dismissed the actions of Hungary and Slovakia against the redistribution of refugees, there is no excuse,” Keller said adding “Finally, those member states which have so far boycotted redistribution must also deliver. Solidarity in the EU is not a one-way street. Government leaders such as Viktor Orbán cannot demand more money for border protection, while blocking the reception of refugees from Greece and Italy.”

Claude Moraes, the Chair of Parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said, “Member states cannot dodge their responsibilities; today’s verdict has shown this.

Poland will continue to refuse to accept migrants under a European Union relocation scheme despite a ruling by EU’s highest court that Brussels had the right to force member states to take in asylum seekers, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo commented after the ruling.

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  1. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    Surprise, surprise: the CJEU has ruled that member states must obey EU law and international law explicitly included in the EU Treaties.

    If Hungary and Poland reject the rule of law, they should be invited to leave the EU — before being expelled. Perhaps they would prefer to be included in a new Soviet Union with Russia.

  2. Personally I am appalled at what is happening to Greece and Italy with regard to migrants. However let’s see it from the point of view of member states other than Germany. Leaving the situation of ‘genuine refugees’ aside for a moment and think: whose decision was it to ‘invite’ all and sundry to take off to Europe with no documents, passports, etc. and claim ‘asylum’ for a better life? Did all member states vote on this? No. There was no joint European vote on the matter. Let those responsible take care of the situation they created. Hasn’t the world had enough of attempts of German dominance?

  3. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    Amyntas: the law of the EU on refugees is that of the 1951 UNB convention and every member state agreed to all the EU laws implementing the 1951 convention. The court case referred to here is because the new laws on destribution of refugees was voted on and is the law, and these fascist governments in Hungary and Poland refuse to accept the law. It has nothing to do with Merkel’s statement that the refugees were welcome in Germany: they were already arriving in massive numbers in Italy and Greece. Far from expressing German dominance, Merkel chose to show real leadership — something completely absent across the EU and the world with the low quality politicians in power.

    And the “people” responsible for the situation are the countries that murdered Q’addafi, support terrorists in Syria, illegally invaded Iraq, murder civilians with drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan, etc etc. The names of those countries are the USA, UK, France and many other northern European countries. These countries are accepting almost no refugees, and expect Turkey, Greece and Italy to deal with the mass refugee flights.

  4. And the refugees pour out of the Middle East & Africa & Afghanistan – in large numbers still.
    The worst is yet to come – the US & Israel want to control & remodel the whole of the Middle East.
    As’ad AbuKhalil: Fragmentation of the Arab World & the role of US Intervention parts 1-2-3
    Prof. AbuKhalil helps us to understand the reasons why there are refugees in the first place.
    It also explains the trillions & gazillions of dollars & untold resources wasted.
    And the total disregard for human life on their part.
    The worst is yet to come.

  5. I watch news and see Spanish Police shooting rubber bullets and breaking faces of people who just want to vote in a democratic referendum in Catalonia. That is a shame of the European democracy. At the same time me personally proud to see Poland and Hungary not accepting Arabians refugees because people in these countries don’t want to welcome that scum. Guess where in the EU democracy does really still work the way it should work.