Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Europe migrant crisis: EU's top court rejects quota challenge

The EU's top court has rejected a challenge by Hungary and Slovakia to a migrant relocation deal drawn up at the height of the crisis in 2015.

The European Court of Justice overruled their objections to the compulsory fixed-quota scheme.

Hungary has not accepted a single asylum seeker since the measures were introduced two years ago.

They were an attempt to ease the pressure on frontline countries such as Greece and Italy.

But the ruling has sparked fury, with Hungary's foreign minister vowing: "The real fight starts now."

Since 2014, about 1.7 million migrants have tried to make new homes in the EU in the worst migrant crisis since World War Two.

Those fleeing war and persecution, many from the Middle East, are entitled to asylum under European and international law.

The numbers peaked in 2015, and in September that year, European leaders agreed to spread a total of 160,000 migrants "in clear need of international protection" among member states over two years.

Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania voted against the quotas.

The issue was decided by a majority vote - usually followed on issues that do not affect national sovereignty.

Hungary was asked to take 1,294 asylum seekers, Slovakia 802.

To date, Hungary has refused to take a single asylum seeker, along with Poland, while Slovakia has accepted only about a dozen. The Czech Republic has refused to take any for the past year.

Only 28,000 people have actually been relocated under the scheme. But migrant arrivals have fallen overall due to initiatives such as the EU-Turkey deal and EU measures to curb migration from Libya.

BBC      News.