articleimg-1
Apr 05, 2017

Brussels sees Hungary as a 'rebel' it wants to punish

In December 2015, Hungary turned to the European Court of Justice over the EU’s mandatory migrant quota scheme, which had been approved by a simple majority of EU interior ministers despite protest from Hungary

Brussels treats Hungary like a “rebel” it wants to punish for its refusal to take in migrants, according to Pál Völner, state secretary at the Ministry of Justice.

Völner reacted to an article published in the UK's The Times newspaper that said Germany, France and up to 21 other countries were preparing to give an ultimatum to Hungary and Poland demanding that they either accept their redistribution quota of migrants or leave the European Union.

Völner noted that in December 2015, Hungary had turned to the European Court of Justice over the EU’s mandatory migrant quota scheme, which had been approved by a simple majority of EU interior ministers just a few months earlier despite protest from Hungary. Slovakia also challenged the quota plan with a similar petition to Hungary’s and was soon joined by Poland, Völner told MTI.

The Times quoted a senior diplomatic source from one of the founding EU member states as saying that “we are confident that the ECJ will confirm validation” of the quota system, after which Hungary and Poland would have to abide by the court’s decision or face “both financial and political” consequences.

Völner said such remarks were “in serious violation” of the ECJ’s independence, adding that they gave cause for suspicion that the court was being “dragged into the migrant business”.

He said it was clear that Hungary and Poland were being pressured politically, arguing that the petition to the ECJ had been submitted by Hungary and Slovakia, yet the EU’s reported ultimatum targets Poland but not Slovakia.

He noted that Austria, which had originally backed the quota plan, but later said it would not take in any more migrants, had not been mentioned in connection with the ultimatum, either.

The ECJ will hold a hearing on Hungary and Slovakia’s petition on May 10, the state secretary noted.