EU Court Rejects Hungary’s Appeal for Refugee Quotas
The European Court of Justice rejected Hungary and Slovakia’s joint appeal for refugee quotas on Sept. 6. The decision comes amidst heated opposition from both nation’s governments over the quota limit since 2015.
The European Union voted to relocate 160,000 refugees among European countries in 2015. Hungary and Slovakia have criticized the quota for violating European laws but the court has rejected their appeal in the refugee case.
Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó said the decision regarding the obligatory quota was made in a way that violated European regulations. Szijjártó added that the European Council, consisting of heads of state and government, first made the decision to introduce the quota system on a voluntary basis.
However, the Council of Ministers of Interior Justice changed the decision in Sept. 2015, pushing for an obligatory quota system instead. Szijjártó said this was a violation of European Union laws, since the Council of Ministers shouldn’t have had the authority to carry out such a ruling.
The foreign minister considers the obligatory quota system an amendment to the Dublin Treaty, which the Council of Ministers didn’t have a right to modify. Under current laws, the Dublin Treaty indicates that asylum seekers must seek refuge in the first EU country they arrive in, and may not restart the process in another EU nation.
But the Council of Ministers have sought to modify this law, in spite of rules requiring a consensus amongst all 28 member states before any modification.
Hungary and Slovakia appealed to the EU court based on these arguments. However, the appeal comes at a time when Hungary has been taking heat for its stances on refugees.
Filippo Grandi, the head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, lambasted Hungary for not living up to its treaty responsibilities as a member of the world body.
Szijjártó argued that Hungary has always fulfilled its obligations on the international level, adding that Hungary would do better by giving financial aid to countries affected by the crisis in the Middle East such as Iraq and Jordan, rather than taking more refugees in.
The foreign minister believes this would enable refugees to return to their homeland once the crisis is over.