EU court advised to reject Hungary, Slovakia refugee case

AP News
Posted: Jul 26, 2017 7:37 AM
EU court advised to reject Hungary, Slovakia refugee case

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The European Court of Justice should dismiss lawsuits filed by Hungary and Slovakia challenging a European Council decision that the countries have to mandatorily take in hundreds of asylum-seekers, a court adviser said Wednesday.

Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Romania voted against the 2015 decision establishing a temporary plan to relocate 120,000 migrants. Under the deal — agreed at the height of the migrant crisis — Hungary would have to temporarily take in 1,294 asylum-seekers and Slovakia, 902.

Poland, which should take in 6,182 asylum-seekers, supported the positions of Hungary and Slovakia in the case.

Advocate General Yves Bot, whose role is to propose non-binding legal solutions for the court in cases under his purview, rejected arguments from Slovakia and Hungary regarding the legality of the relocation plan. The advocate general's position is often indicative of what ruling the court will likely make.

The relocation plan has had limited success so far, though the European Commission said Wednesday that migrant relocation from Greece and Italy to other EU nations reached a record level in June — over 2,000 migrants were relocated from Greece, and nearly 1,000 from Italy in June to other EU nations.

"One thing is very clear: relocation works if the political will is there," said EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos. He called on EU member states to step up efforts to re-house migrants in Italy, now the main point of arrival for migrants making the risky boat crossing to Europe from north Africa, mostly Libya.

Bot believed that the relocation plan was legitimate even though it was contested by some countries and that national parliaments were not required to take part in the decision.

The European Court of Justice has started deliberating on the case.