Top EU court adviser deals blow to easterners' refugee battle

One of the first migrants boarding a plane to be relocated from Italy in October 2015

One of the first migrants boarding a plane to be relocated from Italy in October 2015

Advocate General at the European Court of Justice Yves Bot has proposed to dismiss the lawsuits filed by Slovakia and Hungary against the proposal to relocate migrants from Greece and Italy based on mandatory quotas.

Hungary and Slovakia looked set to see their appeal against the plan rejected after the advisor to the EU's top court said the quotas were a fair way of easing the pressure on Greece and Italy.

The European Commission pressed ahead on Wednesday to the second stage of legal actions against the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland over refugee sharing. The advocate general's position is often indicative of what ruling the court will likely make. Many of them then moved on to destinations further west in the EU.

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos says "relocation works if the political will is there". But only 24,000 have been taken in by other member states for processing since the plan was agreed in 2015.

"Whereas Hungary has not taken any action at all since the relocation scheme started, Poland has not relocated anyone and not pledged since December 2015", the E.U. Commission said. The Commission can take the three central European states to the European Court of Justice, where they could face major fines, if they are found guilty. The EU Kommisar failed to explain why the East European countries were "legally obliged" to foot the bill for the EU-Merkel "refugee" policy.

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On May 16, the European Commission issued a progress report on relocation and resettlement, stressing that some countries, in particular, Hungary, Poland and Austria were the only EU members that had not relocated a single person, while the Czech Republic remained inactive for a year.

Bot believed that the relocation plan was legitimate even though it was contested by some countries and that national parliaments were not required to take part in the decision.

"We will demand that (the European Commission) speed up regulatory proceedings so that instruments are created to assess at any time, in any (member state) such double standards", the minister said.

EU ministers backed the quota plan two years ago, despite objections from eastern European countries, which have little experience of absorbing migrants.

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