Top EU court dismisses migration suit brought by Hungary and Slovakia

06.09.2017

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Wednesday dismissed a joint lawsuit filed by Slovakia and Hungary calling for the European Union's refugee relocation scheme to be declared invalid.

Hungary and Slovakia had argued that the EU broke its own legislative rules and exceeded its powers when a majority of member states voted in September 2015 to introduce a binding quota to redistribute up to 120,000 refugees from Italy and Greece across the bloc. Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and the Czech Republic had voted against the measure.

The lawsuit brought in December 2015 sought to annul the EU decision, arguing that it was "manifestly neither appropriate nor necessary for attaining the aim pursued."

The court however could not find any evidence that the measure was "manifestly inappropriate," according to a press statement. "That mechanism actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate," the court said. 

Under the relocation scheme, Hungary is obliged to take 1,294 refugees, but has taken none, while Slovakia is expected to take 902, and has accepted 16. The judgement is unlikely to bridge a widening divide among EU member states over how to respond to migration within the bloc.

In the court proceedings, Poland intervened in support of Slovakia and Hungary, while Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden and the Commission intervened in support of the relocation scheme. 

The European Commission is currently pursuing legal action against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for failing to meet their legal obligations on relocation.    (dpa)

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