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29 September 2017 – Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania have, since very beginning, expressed their opposition to the adoption of a mandatory relocation mechanism for asylum seekers. It should be recalled that the final vote of the Council had been obtained by using the procedure of qualified majority voting and not by unanimity. Following the vote, Hungary and Slovakia lodged an appeal for annulment before the EU Court of Justice on a twofold ground: that the mechanism adoption procedure laid on an incorrect legal basis and that the measure was not adapted to solve the migrant crisis. On 6 September 2017, the European Court delivered its verdict and dismissed the appeal. It considers that the procedure followed by the Council is in conformity with the rules governing the functioning of the institution and that the mechanism makes it possible to assist Greece and Italy in an effective and proportionate manner in dealing with the consequences of the 2015 influx of migrants. In this context, the Court observes that “the small number of relocations carried out to date under the contested decision can be explained by a set of factors which the Council could not foresee at the time of the adoption, including the lack of cooperation of certain Member States “.
The issues at stake invited the Court to join the critical observations connected with the behavior of certain Member States during the 2015 crisis, but it will not go any further, and eludes in particular the question of solidarity. However, the Court has had the opportunity to indicate in a ruling principle decision the grounds in terms of asylum and the limits not to cross. The Opinion of Advocate General Yves BOT, presented on 26 July 2017, foreshadowed a major decision since, in his view, “the contested decision constitutes an expression of the solidarity which the Treaty provides for between the Member States. The present remedies afford us the opportunity to recall that solidarity is one of the cardinal values of the Union and even lies at the foundation of it.“ Eventually the CJEU stays in line with its own case-law and merely confirms that it does not wish to take part in the debate!
For further information
– CJEU : Judgement of the Court in joined cases C-643/15 and C-647/15, Slovak Republic and Hungary/Council of the EU, 6 September 2017- http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf;jsessionid=9ea7d2dc30d621485ba84b2941769a8a961116e4e26e.e34KaxiLc3qMb40Rch0SaxyMbxv0?text=&docid=194081&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=943575
– CJUE : Communiqué de presse n 91/17, 6 septembre 2017 – https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2017-09/cp170091fr.pdf
– Opinion of Advocate general BOT delivered on 26 July 2017, Cases C‑643/15 et C‑647/15, http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=193374&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1020916