EU takes Czechs, Hungary, Poland to top court

CC0 Creative Commons

CC0 Creative Commons

The European Commission took the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to the European Court of Justice Thursday over their failure to accept the required quotas for refugees.

The temporary emergency relocation scheme was established in two Council Decisions in September 2015, in which Member States committed to relocate persons in need of global protection from Italy and Greece.

But Hungary and Poland have taken none at all, while the Czech Republic has accepted 12.

In its statement, the unelected Commission said that the Visegrad nations of Central Europe "remain in breach of their legal obligations" and "have given no indication that they will contribute to the implementation of the relocation decision".

On June 15, 2017, the Commission launched infringement procedures against the three countries on the issue of refugee relocation, taking the process to the next level by sending its "reasoned opinions" on July 26, after the replies provided by the three Member States were found to be unsatisfactory.

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The EU's "relocation" scheme is now wrapping up having moved 32,000 out of an originally planned total of 160,000, but it caused bad blood when it was forced through two years ago despite the objections of some countries.

The dispute has highlighted the deep divisions among Europeans over how best to handle the migrant wave, which saw more than one million people enter Europe in 2015, mostly from Turkey to the Greek islands and across the Mediterranean to Italy.

Poland's rightwing government is also in the EU's legal crosshairs.

"Going to court is always the instrument of last resort".

This morning on emerging judicial precedent, said Deputy head of the European Commission Frans Timmerman.

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Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski also pointed to the fact Poland issued more than a million work permits previous year alone for migrants from the country's conflict-stricken neighbour Ukraine.

The Commission also said it would take Hungary to the ECJ, the EU's highest court, over its controversial higher education law, which critics say curbs academic freedom.

The European commission - the executive arm of the EU - said Hungary had repeatedly failed to answer its concerns over both cases.

Earlier this year Soros accused the Orban government of building a "mafia state" in Hungary.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban considers Mr Soros a key political foe, mainly due to their diverging views on migration.

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