In response to the migration crisis that affected Europe in the summer of 2015, the Council of the European Union adopted a decision for the relocation from those two member states to other EU states, over a period of two years, of just 120,000 persons in clear need of worldwide protection.
The European Court of Justice has ruled that the current system of quotas for resettling refugees is proportionate, amid protests by east European states that cite culture clashes and terrorist attacks. However, at the moment were allocated only about 25 thousand people.
Hungary and Poland voted against the plan and have refused to take part while so far Slovakia has accepted only a handful of refugees from Greece.
The ECJ claims that the European Union is entitled to making such exceptions in the legislative process, saying that the quotas help relieve the considerable pressure on the asylum systems of Italy and Greece.
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The commission said on Wednesday that 27,695 asylum seekers have been relocated so far from Greece (19,244) and Italy (8,451).
Commenting on the court's decision, the EU's migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said member states should swiftly move on relocating asylum seekers. Hungary has admitted none, but Slovakia has taken in a handful.
Amnesty International welcomed the court's decision. "Member states must show solidarity with each other, and with asylum seekers who are seeking protection in Europe".
Slovakia prime minister Robert Fico said his government "fully respects the court's decision" but added that the quotas were "politically wrong". That entailed closer "relationships with key third countries like Niger and Libya, or simply providing cash to encourage governments to limit flows", she said, referring to funding for programs like job creation and for security measures to keep migrants from attempting the hazardous trip to Europe.
This is largely a result of a controversial deal the European Union signed with Turkey in March previous year to send back migrants in return for billions of euros in aid and for admitting asylum seekers directly from refugee camps in Turkey.
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