Refugee crisis: ECJ rules against Hungary and Slovakia

A key ruling by the European Court of Justice on member states' refugee obligations has generally been welcomed by MEPs.

Refugee arrivals | Photo credit: Press Association

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

06 Sep 2017

On Wednesday, the court ruled against Hungary and Slovakia's appeal against the EU decision to relocate refugees from Greece and Italy, stating that the scheme "actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate". 

The ruling was greeted by Ska Keller, co-Chair of Parliament's Greens/EFA group, who said, "Now that the ECJ has dismissed the actions of Hungary and Slovakia against the redistribution of refugees, there is no excuse.

"Finally, those member states which have so far boycotted redistribution must also deliver. Solidarity in the EU is not a one-way street. Government leaders such as Viktor Orbán cannot demand more money for border protection, while blocking the reception of refugees from Greece and Italy."


Keller, who Parliament's rapporteur on relocation decisions, added, "This ruling is a milestone for the EU. The ECJ confirmed that solidarity is a key principle of the common asylum policy.

"All member states must now live up to their obligations; it is insane that most countries are still lagging far behind. The European Commission should also follow-up with the infringement proceedings initiated against Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland for not doing their part."

Claude Moraes, the Chair of Parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said, "Member states cannot dodge their responsibilities; today's verdict has shown this. 

"The Parliament has consistently called on member states to quickly uphold their commitments, since the adoption of the relocation mechanism in 2015. Yet two years later, only 28,000 people out of the 160,000 have been relocated."

Moraes added, "The fact that collectively member states have relocated less than a quarter of the modest figure of 160,000 people from Italy and Greece draws attention to significant gaps in the EU's response to the biggest refugee crisis on the continent since World War II.

"We urgently need to have in place an organised and compassionate response."


Read the most recent articles written by Martin Banks - New EU regulations on AI seek to ban mass and indiscriminate surveillance