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Jul 27, 2017

Top European court’s advocate general says Hungary's migrant resettlement challenge should be dismissed

Hungarian politicians denounce the advisor's report as politically charged, lacking legal arguments and 'fitting the Soros plan'

The case launched by Slovakia and Hungary challenging the legality of the European Union‘s refugee resettlement scheme should be dismissed, the top European court’s advocate general has said.

Hungary and Slovakia defended their refusal to take in asylum seekers at the EU’s Luxembourg-based Court of Justice (ECJ), claiming the 2015 EU scheme to relocate refugees on a mandatory basis was unlawful.

The Advocate General Yves Bot said the resettlement scheme was “appropriate for attaining the objective which it pursues”.

“That mechanism is actually a proportionate means of enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis,” Bot said. Not implementing it "is contrary to the obligation concerning solidarity and the fair sharing of burdens," he emphasized.

The advocate general does not tie the hands of judges but in most cases they uphold his opinion and it is expected that the judges will make a ruling in the autumn.

In former rulings related to migration, ECJ ruled against the opinion of the advocate general, state secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Pál Völner pointed out, adding that  if the court decides on the basis of legal criteria, Hungary has every reason to be optimistic about the ruling. 

Mr. Völner said that the advocate general's statement was politically charged and lacked the due legal arguments. 

Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that the opinion of the top court’s advisor “completely fits with the process that is called the Soros plan”.

“With all the pomp of a head of state, Soros was received in Brussels and afterwards, interestingly, all European institutions put even greater pressure on Hungary and central European countries to receive illegal migrants," Minister Szijjártó commented on US financier George Soros's relationship with Brussels.

“We do not want to accept illegal migrants; we await for the court’s decision,” the minister added. He said Hungary still regarded the decision on mandatory relocations of migrants according to a quota system as a violation of European law. 

The minister said Brussels did not have the right to deprive sovereign states of the right to decide whom to allow on to their territory. The European treaties clearly state that this right cannot be taken away, he added.

Minister Szijjártó said it was the government’s first duty and obligation to protect Hungarians and ensure their safety. It will do everything in its power to make sure that illegal migrants “do not come here," he added.

European commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos noted that the commission has initiated a new phase of the infringement procedures it started last month against Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic for rejecting the quota scheme.

He justified the move with the fact that none of the member states in question had indicated that they would relocate a single asylum seeker to their territory and that none of the arguments they had put forward justified their failure to implement the resettlement scheme.