Hungary found to have broken law on refugees

Hungary has failed to meet its EU obligations when it refused to take part in a mandatory refugee quota scheme, Eleanor Sharpston, Advocate General at the European Court of Justice, said on Thursday.
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Hungary has not been the sole subject of the lawsuit, and Sharpston also reprimanded Poland and the Czech Republic for having refused compliance with the temporary and limited relocation of asylum-seekers.

Sharpston said the EU's highest court should rule that the three countries

have failed to fulfill their obligations under EU law.

"These Member States cannot invoke their responsibilities with regard to the maintenance of law and order and the safeguarding of internal security in order to disapply a valid EU measure with which they disagree," Sharpston said in a statement.

Sharpston said each EU country has to comply with its obligations under EU law and disregarding them because they are unwelcome or unpopular "is a dangerous first step towards the breakdown of the orderly and structured society governed by the rule of law.”

Sharpston's opinion is not legally binding, but such recommendations are usually followed by the European Court of Justice.

The temporary scheme, introduced in 2015, was meant to redistribute 160,000 refugees from Africa and the Middle East after their arrival in Italy and Greece. Eastern European countries refused to participate in the scheme, citing security risks and claiming that accepting refugees would be too much of a burden. At the time the case was taken to court in December 2017, the European Commission said Poland and Hungary hadn't taken in any refugees and the Czech Republic hadn't don't so for more than a year.

Cover photo: Omar Marques/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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