Merkel: Hungary’s stance on quota threatens rule of law

September 13, 2017

German Chancellor Merkel: Hungary's stance on quota threatens rule of law
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a European People’s Party Summit in Brussels, March 2017. Photo: Flickr/European People’s Party

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Hungary’s rejection of the EU’s asylum-seeker resettlement quota “unacceptable”, and said she would raise the matter at a meeting of the European Commission in October, reports

“There is a government that says it is indifferent to the decision of the European Court of Justice, and that is unacceptable,” Merkel said in an interview with Berliner Zeitung.

Last Wednesday, Hungary lost its case in the European Court of Justice challenging the obligatory relocation of some 120,000 asylum-seekers across the European Union. The lawsuit was filed by the governments of Hungary and Slovakia in response to the 2015 resolution of the European Council ordering the relocation in order to relieve overburdened states Greece and Italy.

While the Slovakian government accepted the court’s decision, Orbán told state-run Kossuth Rádió that “We have to acknowledge the ruling because respect for the law is the foundation of the European Union. At the same time, this ruling does not give us a reason to change our immigration policy which rejects the migrants. So we are not going to change this policy.”

In the interview, Merkel talked about unity among EU member states concerning development aid for the refugees’ countries of origin and the protection of the Union’s outer borders. The European Union is also united, she said, in its imagination for a new migration policy which it expects will better handle unexpected crises.

“Only three or four of the 28 member countries strictly reject the solidarity-based distribution of refugees,” Merkel said.

When asked if Hungary should leave the European Union, she said the disagreement on the asylum-seeker quota “concerns a very important, basic European issue, because to me Europe is a territory where law rules. We need to discuss this at the European Commission meeting in October.”