Migrant crisis: ECJ rejects quota challenge06/09/17Government
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has rejected a challenge by eastern European countries to a migrant relocation deal drawn up at the height of the crisis in 2015.
The ECJ overruled Hungary and Slovakia’s objections to the compulsory fixed-quota scheme.
Hungary has not accepted a single asylum seeker since the measures were introduced two years ago.
The measures were an attempt to ease the pressure on ‘frontline’ countries such as Greece and Italy.
Just under 28,000 people have been relocated under the scheme, rather than the 160,000 asylum seekers envisaged when it was agreed in September 2015.
Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania voted against the quotas.
However, EU officials insisted that the scheme was binding on all member states regardless of whether they had voted for it or not. Hungary was asked to take 1,294 asylum seekers and Slovakia 802.
To date, Slovakia has accepted only around a dozen.
In asking the court to annul the deal, Hungary and Slovakia argued at the ECJ that there were procedural mistakes, and that quotas were not a suitable response to the migrant crisis.
Officials say the problem is not of their making, that the policy exposes them to a risk of Islamist terrorism and that it represents a threat to their homogenous societies.
Their case was supported by Poland.
However, it was rejected by the ECJ ruling, which stated: ‘The Court dismisses the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the provisional mechanism for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers.
‘That mechanism actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate.’
The court’s ruling is final and cannot be appealed.