Tuesday

22nd Oct 2019

Hungary to challenge refugee quotas in EU court

  • Migrants and refugees making their way through Hungary in the summer, before the country sealed its borders with Serbia and Croatia (Photo: Daniel Belenyi)

Hungary's parliament obliged the government in a law passed on Tuesday (16 November) to challenge the EU decision on mandatory refugee relocation quotas in court next month.

The bill, approved by 154 votes in favor from the ruling Fidesz party, and the opposition far-right Jobbik, with 41 against, states that the quota ignores the European principle of subsidiarity and fails to grant national parliaments the opportunity to express their opinion.

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Justice minister Laszlo Trocsanyi said before the vote that the quota scheme lacked social legitimacy.

“Most of Europe's population don't agree with the quotas,” he said, adding that the case will be filed in early December at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

He said that under the plan Hungary would need to take in 2,000 people seeking refuge in two years, but because of rules that allow families to be reunited, the number could rise, he said according to Origo news portal.

Hungary voted against the scheme together with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania at an EU meeting in September, Finland abstained.

The plan is to relocate120,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece across the EU to help share the burden of the EU states where most migrants and refugees first arrive to the continent.

The scheme originally proposed to take 54,000 asylum-seekers out of Hungary and distribute them among other member states, but Hungary rejected the plan, as it contests being designated a migrant frontline state along with Italy and Greece.

Slovakia also said it will file a case against the scheme at the European Court of Justice.

Prime minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party has been collecting signatures of citizens opposing the quota system.

Orban said in parliament on Monday that the quotas would spread terrorism across Europe.

“We will decide who we want to let in who we want to live with. [The quota] doesn't make sense as it doesn't solve anything,” he was quoted by AFP.

The preamble of the bill passed on Tuesday also says the quota system is dangerous, would increase crime, spread terror and endanger Hungarian culture.

Hungary to seal border with Croatia

Hungary will seal its borders with Croatia by midnight, with Zagreb planning to send migrants and refugees to Slovenia.

Sweden to tap Hungary's EU relocation quota

Sweden, which hosts the most asylum seekers per capita, has asked other EU states to relocate some people under a quota originally designed for Hungary.

Juncker rebukes Hungary's EU commissioner

Exchange of bad tempered letters sees Juncker tell Navracsics to stay neutral, after Hungarian commissioner objects to Hungary-critical initiative.

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Opinion

Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'

As ex-national leaders, we know it's not easy to withstand public pressures and put collective interests ahead of domestic concerns. But without strong institutional leadership, EU values themselves risk ringing hollow, not least to those seeking protection on Europe's shores.

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