Court upholds EU's right to force members to take in refugees

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Sept. 6, 2017 at 8:03 AM
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Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The European Union's Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled against a challenge by Hungary and Slovakia of the EU's mandatory relocation of asylum seekers.

The two countries defied an EU plan to resettle 120,000 registered refugees across the 28 member states through a quota system.

The system was adopted in 2015 at the height of asylum seekers' migration to Europe to escape wars and terrorism in the Middle East and Africa. 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.

On Wednesday in Luxembourg, the court dismissed the countries' challenge to the plan "in their entirety," citing EU law allowing measures to respond to "an emergency situation characterized by a sudden flow of displaced persons."

"The Council of the European Union adopted a decision in order to help Italy and Greece deal with the massive inflow of migrants," the court said in a statement Wednesday. "By today's judgment, the Court dismisses in their entirety the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary."

The decision upholds the union's right to force member states to take in refugees.

The court added that although pledges by EU counties to take in asylum seekers are slow -- it blamed a "lack of cooperation on the part of certain member states" -- the legality of the decision was not affected by the policy's success.

The EU win in court will likely deepen tensions between the 28-member bloc and Hungary, whose prime minister, Viktor Orban, has made his objection to the asylum policy a central focus of his leadership. The ruling will also complicate relations between the EU and Poland, which supported the Hungarian and Slovakian challenge.

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