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Apr 11, 2016

Poland to back Hungary's legal challenge to the EU's mandatory migrant resettlement quota

Following a meeting with Hungary's Minister of Justice László Trócsányi in Krakow, April 8, Poland’s Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro announced that Poland will back the lawsuit filed last December by Hungary at the European Court of Justice against the EU's mandatory migrant resettlement quota.

“We think that Hungary’s complaint is well-founded,” Mr. Ziobro said, adding that his country is backing Hungary’s complaint against the mandatory quota system, adopted by EU countries’ interior ministers last September, on the compulsory distribution of 120,000 migrants. The Polish Ministry of Justice will file its own supplementary legal arguments to the lawsuit, he added.

In response to the announcement, after the ministerial meeting his Hungarian colleague László Trócsányi told the press that Hungary owes a debt of gratitude to the Polish government for its solidarity with Hungary and its support for the anti-resettlement quota lawsuit.

The compulsory resettlement quota passed by the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council last September infringes Community law, Minister Trócsányi explained. “The European Council suggested a voluntary quota last June, but the JHA Council passed a decision on a mandatory quota,” he said. According to Minister Trócsányi, Article 78 Paragraph 3 of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union can be applied in an emergency to adopt provisional, but not permanent, measures. Judicial practice does not contain such permanent measures either, Mr. Trócsányi pointed out.

Mr. Trócsányi said that in the near future there would probably be fierce debates on whether refugee relocation is a national or EU-level competency.

Minister Trócsányi welcomed Minister Ziobro’s announcement that Poland will support Hungary’s lawsuit at the European Court of Justice challenging the mandatory migrant quota. With the lawsuit now supported by Poland and Slovakia, a total of 55 million people have in effect challenged the quota scheme, he said, referring to the combined population of the three countries.

Poland’s previous government – which was still in power last September – backed the plan to relocate 120,000 migrants under a quota scheme. The Law and Justice party, which came to power in November, said it would uphold the outgoing government's commitment to take in some 7,000 migrants by the end of 2017, under condition that it would prioritise national security interests when assessing asylum requests. Therefore, unlike Hungary and Slovakia, Poland will not file its own separate lawsuit against the migrant quota decision.