The European Union’s top court ruled on Thursday that the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary, broke EU law by refusing to host their assigned share of refugees to ease the burden on southern peers like Greece following a spike in arrivals from 2015.
It also finds Poland and the Czech Republic guilty of failing to fulfill their obligations under an earlier Council decision with regard to 40,000 migrants.
The court says the three-member states have no right to cite maintaining law and or safeguarding internal security or claim that the relocation program was dysfunctional, in refusing to comply.
The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union said in its ruling on the divisive matter that has damaged the bloc’s unity in recent years:
As written in the official document: “First, the Court concluded that there had been an infringement, by the three Member States concerned, of a decision adopted by the Council with a view to the relocation, on a mandatory basis, from Greece and Italy of 120 000 applicants for international protection to the other Member States of the European Union. Secondly, the Court found that Poland and the Czech Republic had also failed to fulfill their obligations under an earlier decision that the Council had adopted with a view to the relocation, on a voluntary basis, from Greece and Italy of 40 000 applicants for international protection to the other Member States of the European Union. Hungary, for its part, was not bound by the relocation measures provided for under the latter decision.”
The EU’s national quotas system won the backing of the bloc’s top court in a separate ruling in 2017, in which it rejected Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s bid to have the quota decision annulled.
The ECJ is not obliged to but usually does follow the Advocate General’s opinions. A ruling, in this case, is expected early next year. The ECJ can fine member countries that violate EU law.
The cases are: C-715/17 European Commission v. Republic of Poland, C-718/17 European Commission v. Hungary, C-719/17 European Commission v. Czech Republic.