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Slovakia respects European Union court ruling on refugees, position unchanged - PM

07 September 2017

Slovakia and Hungary challenged the decision.

On Wednesday, the ECJ said that it had "dismissed in its entirety the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary", which aimed to have the quota system annulled.

Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the EU executive would consider taking Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to the European Court of Justice unless they start complying with the bloc's refugee relocation decisions in the next few weeks. So, according to the judges, this mechanism of distribution of refugees "contributes to the fact that Greece and Italy were able to cope with the effects of the migration crisis of 2015".

While Wednesday's ruling does not have direct consequences on Hungary's and Slovakia's policy, it could increase pressure on eastern and central European member states to take in people from Greece and Italy.

Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania opposed the plan, arguing they were not equipped to integrate people from mainly Muslim countries.

The ECJ claims that the European Union is entitled to making such exceptions in the legislative process, saying that the quotas help relieve the considerable pressure on the asylum systems of Italy and Greece.

"But we should be clear that member states have to show solidarity now because it is now that some member states need help".

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"The decision puts at risk the security of all of Europe and the future of all of Europe as well", Szijjarto said, calling the ruling "contrary to the interests of the European nations, including Hungary".

Fico repeatedly labelled the Council decision illegitimate, claiming that it violates the rights of the European Parliament and the national parliaments.

It is part of a scheme to relocate a total of 160,000 asylum seekers by September this year.

In Bratislava, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said his government "fully respects the court's decision" as it wants to remain at the "EU's core" but nevertheless called quotas "politically wrong". "Under the policy, Hungary is required to take in 1,294 refugees and Slovakia 902".

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

"Politics has raped European law and values", he added.

"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. So far only 25,000 refugees have been moved.

Slovakia respects European Union court ruling on refugees, position unchanged - PM