EU nations must take asylum seekers – Court

epa06059392 Some of the 650 migrants who were rescued by the Swedish ship Frontex in Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast, wait to disembark in Catania, Italy, 01 July 2017. Nine migrants from the group were found dead. Italy has experienced a surge in refugee and migrant arrivals in recent months, and media outlets report that the Italian government is considering blocking boats carrying migrants from landing at its ports. EPA/ORIETTA SCARDINO

The European Union’s top court has dismissed complaints by Slovakia and Hungary about EU migration policy, upholding Brussels’ right to force member states to take in asylum seekers.

In the latest twist to a divisive dispute that broke out two years ago when over a million migrants poured across the Mediterranean, the European Court of Justice found that the EU was entitled to order national governments to take in quotas of mainly Syrian refugees relocated from Italy and Greece.

“The court dismisses the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the provisional mechanism for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers,” the Luxembourg-based court said in a statement.

“The mechanism actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate.”

The programme set up by the executive European Commission was approved by majority vote of member states in the face of opposition from formerly communist countries in the east who said their societies could not absorb mainly Muslim immigrants.

It provided for the relocation of up to 160,000 people, but only some 25,000 have so far been moved.