5 February 2016

In December 2015, Slovakia and Hungary filed a legal action with the Court of Justice of the European Union against the September relocation decision, which refers to the relocation of an additional 120,000 asylum seekers from Greece, Italy and other Member States who may potentially request it. Their moves follow the indignation of the countries after they were outvoted in the Council of the European Union: the decision was adopted based on a qualified majority voting rather than unanimity and Slovakia and Hungary, together with Czech Republic and Romania had voted against the decision.

The arguments for requesting an annulment of the relocation mechanism used by the two countries have been recently published by the Court, and they mainly concern the procedure used to adopt the relocation mechanism. Legal analysts suggest that they are likely to fail.

The countries also raised the principle of proportionality, which can give  greater room for the Court to consider whether the current situation in which an increased number of people are seeking asylum in the EU constitutes an emergency or not. In light of this, the Court would subsequently decide if the measures adopted were proportionate to their aim of relieving pressure on frontline States and compatible with the principles of solidarity and fair sharing among Member States.

While waiting for the ruling of the Court, all Member States are bound by the Decision. Relocation is still taking place, though at a very slow pace. According to the latest statistics made available by the European Commission, a total of 481 persons have so far been relocated.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 5 February 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.