Furious Hungary vows to fight on against European Union refugee quotas

August to be rescued in the Mediterranean Sea. Credit Angelos Tzortzinis  Agence France Presse — Getty Ima
August to be rescued in the Mediterranean Sea. Credit Angelos Tzortzinis Agence France Presse — Getty Ima

07 September, 2017

The European Court of Justice [official website] on Wednesday ruled [judgment] that Slovakia and Hungary must host asylum seekers as a part of the EU migration policy [EU materials].

However, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto slammed the verdict as "irresponsible", saying it "threatens the security of all of Europe".

"That mechanism actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate", a news release on the ECJ's ruling said.

The ruling follows an European Union decision made in 2015 to rehouse some 160,000 refugees from Greece and Italy over a period of two years, only around 27,700 of whom have been settled so far.

"Today's ruling shows that no country can hide from their responsibilities to refugees".

The European Commission is also carrying out legal action against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for refusing to implement the EU directive.

Besides Hungary's legal arguments against the European Union plan, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government has also made the case and the issue the focal point of its political activities since early 2015 and ahead of parliamentary elections expected in April 2018.

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The EU's relocation plan - which expires on September 26 - has not been fully executed, in no small part because of some member states' reluctance to accept migrants.

She said that "leaders such as (Hungarian Prime Minister) Viktor Orban can not demand more money for border protection, while blocking the reception of refugees from Greece and Italy". Slovakia and Hungary denounced the plan at the time, citing their heterogeneous population, with a largely single ethnic representation, as an extra burden in resettling refugees.

"In contravention of the founding treaties, the ruling asserts the power of the European Commission over EU member states.

Solidarity can not be a la carte", Avramopoulos said, referring to a recent request by Budapest to the European Union commission to finance its border fence. The court also stated that the legality of its decision is not affected by the effectiveness of the policy.

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

That tally is less than half the arrivals registered in the same period previous year, when 289,681 people arrived across the region through September 3, 2016, and 3,238 died at sea. The agency estimated that 2,537 people have died in 2017 attempting to make the Mediterranean crossing.

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