European Migrant Crisis: Decision time at ECJ on Hungary's immigration challenge

Hungary and Slovakia rejected the EU's decision to distribute migrants across member states

The European Court of Justice on Wednesday dismissed the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the provisional mechanism for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers to relieve pressure on front-line countries.

"If the member states that have not relocated at all or not for a long time do not change their approach in the coming weeks, we should then consider to take the last step in the infringement procedure, taking Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to the European Court of Justice".

Poland initially supported the plan but has come out strongly opposed since a right-wing government came to power.

The burden sharing agreement was struck despite the EU's so-called Dublin rules, which requires immigrants to apply for asylum in their country of first arrival. Slovakia and Hungary challenged the decision.

As the United Kingdom has an opt-out on European Union rules regarding asylum, it decided not to take part in the scheme. Slovakia and the Czech Republic have only taken in a handful.

The UNHCR urged European Union nations to "increase the pace of relocation for eligible asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece, and to fully meet their relocation commitments as a concrete gesture of solidarity towards countries of first arrival in the EU".

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has echoed that threat, warning Orban "solidarity is not a one-way street".

"ECJ confirms relocation scheme valid".

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The EU's migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the court's decision was an opportunity to end in-fighting between member states.

The court's ruling is final and can not be appealed.

"I always said to our eastern European partners that it is right to clarify questions legally if there is doubt".

Claude Moraes, chairman of the Civil Liberties Committee dealing with migration, said "we urgently need to have in place an organized and compassionate response" to the plight of refugees.

"This absolutely does not change the position of the Polish government with respect to migration policy", she said. He called it a political decision and vowed that Hungary would continue to challenge European Union efforts to force countries into taking in migrants. "This decision jeopardises the security and future of all of Europe".

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the ruling was "outrageous and irresponsible", the Associated Press reports, and vowed Hungary would fight any attempts to resettle migrants there without government approval.

The system was meant to relocate 160,000 refugees who have fled to Greece and Italy in order to help prevent those countries from being overwhelmed.

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