EU Court Rejects Challenges to Refugee Resettlement

2015 after the border was blocked by the Hungarian border police. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New Y

Hungary accused the Luxembourg court of making an "outrageous and irresponsible" politically driven decision.

Earlier in the day, judges at the European Court of Justice dismissed a legal challenge against EU refugee quotas from Hungary and Slovakia.

The EU on Wednesday won a high-level legal battle against eastern European countries that have refused to admit thousands of asylum seekers based on mandatory quotas for the bloc's member states. The European Council's decision in September 2015 provided for 120,000 people "in clear need of global protection" to be relocated from Italy and Greece to other EU member states. Despite earnest efforts from some European Union leaders, there have not been much of a progress in that area and millions remain stranded in the country they first arrived namely Italy and Greece leading to more political tensions in those two countries.

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

Commenting on the court's decision, the EU's migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said member states should swiftly move on relocating asylum seekers.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the ruling means eastern European members must abide by the refugee sharing scheme.

Amnesty International welcomed the court's decision.

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The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia voted against the measure, which was then challenged by Hungary and Slovakia later that year.

"ECJ confirms relocation scheme valid".

Slovakia prime minister Robert Fico said his government "fully respects the court's decision" but added that the quotas were "politically wrong". But he said his government still is not happy with the relocation plan, which he and others from Eastern Europe see as being imposed on their countries by non-elected European Union bureaucrats.

Under worldwide 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.

Slovakia has accepted about 16 refugees as of July 2017.

Over the past few years Europe has been faced with millions of refugees and asylum seekers escaping war zones and hardship from across Africa and the Middle East.

"The EU-Turkey statement continues to work and deliver results", Avramopoulos said, adding that migrant arrivals in Greece from Turkey had dropped 97 per cent since the deal began in March 2016.

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