nsucurrent.com May 21, 2018

Court: EU states must take in refugees

07 September 2017, 01:51 | Ruby West

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

It's not clear what consequences there will be, if any, for member states that refuse to take in migrants.

Slovakia and Hungary voted against the adoption of the contested decision in the council - as did the Czech Republic and Romania - and lobbied for annulment by the European Court of Justice.

Hungary's foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, called the court decision "outrageous and irresponsible".

The two nations opposed a 2015 decision by the EU's top policy body, at the height of the Mediterranean migration crisis, to assist Italy and Greece by making other European Union states admit 120,000 people.

#ECJ confirms our view on the migration scheme.

Hungary asked Brussels last week to pay €400 million towards the cost of security at its frontiers, and Mr Szijjarto complained that "the European Commission is not funding border protection, but only the admission of illegal immigrants".

"Politics raped European law", Szijjarto told reporters in Budapest, adding that the decision established the power of the European Commission over the member states. He said it jeopardizes the security and future of Europe.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, an advocate for asylum-seekers, urged Hungary to give refugees an opportunity to make their case for asylum.

Under global and European law, countries are required to grant asylum to people fleeing war or persecution but not those classed as economic migrants, the EU designation for most sub-Saharan Africans.

Since 2014 around 1.7 million people have travelled to the European Union with the intention of settling here, with many fleeing wars or strife in the Middle East and Africa.

Amnesty International welcomed the court's decision.

Beata Szydlo, the Polish prime minister, said: 'We expected this decision. The European Court of Justice rejected a challenge by Hungary and Slovakia on September 6, 207, to stay out of a European Union scheme meant to relocate refugees.

But Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said he accepted the court's decision.

In other words, the quotas don't work well as an important expression of political solidarity between European Union member states.

Budapest announced at the end of August that it will extend the state of emergency declared previous year over the migrant crisis until March 2018, while Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said that the "threat of terrorism in Europe has increased", thus justifying increased border controls, according to The Associated Press. That measure, including payments of up to €6 billion to help Turkey manage its refugee population and a pledge to reinvigorate talks on the possibility of Turkey joining the bloc, slowed the flow across the Aegean route to a trickle.

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