The EU Court of Justice blames the enemies of refugees

by Giuseppe Terranova - 2017.09.07
The EU Court of Justice blames the enemies of refugees
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European countries do not have the right to oppose the distribution of refugees. This was established yesterday by the EU Court of Justice in rejecting the appeal by Slovakia and Hungary against Brussel’s decision to relocate the 160,000 asylum seekers arrived in Greece and Italy amongst the member countries. A decision taken by the European Council in September 2015.

The European magistrates have rejected the two objections, in terms of method and merit, advanced by the plaintiffs. Let’s look at the reasons behind this.

With respect to method, the governments based in Bratislava and Budapest have considered the judicial basis that the European Council chose to adopt the relocation plan. An observation considered to be unfounded by the EU judges because, as the sentence states, the contested decision was legally taken based on Article 78 of the Treatise on the operation of the European Union. That states, “when one or more member States must address an emergency situation characterised by a sudden influx of citizens from other countries, the Council, upon the proposal of the Commission, can adopt temporary measures to the benefit of the State and the member States concerned”. This was in fact the case.

With respect to merit, Slovakia and Hungary point the finger against relocation as it is not suitable in resolving the refugee emergency of Athens and Rome. The truth of which, in their opinion, is confirmed by the fact that of the 160,000 relocations anticipated, there have been little more than 25,000 to date. A flop, the reaction of the judges that however, does not certify the inefficiency of the measure as it stands. Rather, it shows the complete “lack of cooperation of certain member states” that the EU Council “could not predict”.

The moral of the tale. The EU judges, believe that relocation should be defended and sustained. If it has functioned little and poorly to date, it is the fault of those countries (Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania) that have opposed it. In the same way, the EU Commissioner for Immigration, Dimitris Avramopoulos states, “if they do not change their approach with respect to relocation we will move forward with the latest step of the infraction procedure, with deferment to the EU Court of Justice”. Sentiments echoed by the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, who stated “solidarity is not a one-way street; no we need to move ahead with relocations and the infraction procedures”.

All well that ends well? Up until a certain point. Because the much cited 160,000 relocations must be implemented by and not beyond the 25 September. After this date, the relocation mechanism could disappear in the blink of an eye given that the temporary regulation will expire (the EU Council decision of two years ago) that introduced it. Want to bet that who lost the battle today, may just win the war tomorrow.

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