One month after the EU’s executive Commission launched legal cases against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic for “defaulting on their legal obligations” by refusing to comply with the EU’s refugee quotas (i.e., accept migrants), on Wednesday the three Central European nations suffered another blow after Brussels mounted a legal fightback to force them to comply with EU refugee quotas. The top European Union court’s adviser dismissed a challenge brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the obligatory relocation of refugees across the bloc, as it prepared to sign-off legal suits against the holdout countries.
The two states, backed by Poland, wanted the court to annul a 2015 EU scheme to have each member state host a number of refugees to help ease pressure on Greece and Italy, struggling with mass arrivals across the Mediterranean. Supported by Germany, Italy and Brussels, the EU’s “relocation” law has become one of the bloc’s most divisive recent policy initiatives, forced through over the objections of states from eastern and central Europe.
The euroskeptic governments in Warsaw and Budapest have refused to take in a single asylum-seeker under the plan (which may explain the lack of terrorist events on their home soil). Slovakia and the Czech Republic have also stalled, citing security concerns after a raft of Islamist attacks in the EU in recent years. Quoted by the FT, the EU’s migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said he regretted the decision of the three member states “not to show solidarity and to ignore our repeated calls to participate in this common effort” adding that none of the responses from Budapest, Warsaw or Prague to the commission “justified that they do not implement the relocation decision”.