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Relocation of refugeees "reaches record levels"; proceedings against Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland continue
26.7.17
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The European Commission has published the fourteeneth progress report on the EU's schemes for the relocation and resettlement of refugees, stating that relocations from Italy and Greece have reached "record levels in June", meaning that "relocating all those eligible remains feasible before September."

At the same time, the Commission has moved to the next stage with its infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for failing to comply with the relocation scheme, as an Advocate General at the Court of Justice has issued an opinion calling for the Court to dismiss a complaint made by Slovakia and Hungary that the relocation scheme breaches EU law.

European Commission press release: Migration: Record month for relocations from Italy and Greece (pdf):

"With relocations reaching record levels in June (with over 2,000 relocated from Greece and almost 1,000 from Italy) and almost all Member States pledging and transferring regularly, relocating all those eligible remains feasible before September. However, more efforts are needed to accelerate transfers from Italy, especially in view of the current situation in the Central Mediterranean. Meanwhile, good progress continues to be made on resettlement and the Commission has launched a new pledging exercise to resettle the most vulnerable people from Libya, Egypt, Niger, Ethiopia and Sudan while continuing resettlements from Turkey."

It must be remembered that relocating "all those eligible" is possible because of the restrictive eligibility requirements for the relocation scheme. See: Restrictive refugee relocation scheme means new lower targets might be met (Statewatch News Online, 18 May 2017):

"the total number of people actually eligible for relocation (around 35,000) is massively below the number of people the Member States agreed to relocate (160,000) - thus making it possible for them to meet their obligations without doing what was originally promised."

Relocation and resettlement: documentation (pdfs)

European Commission, Fourteenth Report on Relocation and Resettlement (COM(2017) 405 final)

Annex 1: Relocations from Greece

Annex 2: Relocations from Italy

Annex 3: Relocations from Italy and Greece

Annex 4: Resettlement State of Play


Infringement proceedings against central European states

On infringement proceedings, see: Relocation: Commission moves to next stage in infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (European Commission press release, pdf):

"The European Commission has today sent reasoned opinions to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for non-compliance with their legal obligations on relocation.

Despite repeated calls for action and the launch of infringement procedures by the Commission last month, these three countries remain in breach of their legal obligations and have shown disregard for their commitments to Greece, Italy and other Member States.

On 15 June 2017, the Commission launched infringement procedures and sent letters of formal notice to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The replies provided have not been found satisfactory as none were accompanied by an indication that these Member States would start relocating swiftly to their territory. None of the arguments put forth — whether it be the ongoing Court case against the Council which does not have suspensive effect, showing solidarity by other means, or difficulties in carrying out security checks — justify a failure to pledge available places. This is why the Commission has decided to move to the next stage of the infringement procedure. "

See also: EU to send Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to ECJ if they won’t relocate refugees within one month (New Europe, link)


European Court of Justice opinion: Hungary and Slovakia v Council of the EU

At the European Court of Justice: Advocate General Bot proposes that the Court should dismiss the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the provisional mechanism for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers - That mechanism is actually a proportionate means of enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis (press release, pdf):

"In his Opinion delivered today, Advocate General Yves Bot proposes that the Court should dismiss the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary."

Seven grounds for the opinion are provided. In detail: see the opinion in Cases C-643/15 and C-647/15:Slovak Republic, Hungary v Council of the European Union (pdf)

See also: Court told to 'dismiss' case against EU migrant quotas (EUobserver, link)

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