EU Court of Justice says Poland, Hungary & Czech Republic broke law by refusing to host refugees
The European Union's top court has ruled that Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic broke the law by refusing to host refugees to help ease the burden on southern states such as Greece and Italy after a surge in migrant arrivals from 2015, RTE reports.
The ruling underscores Europe's bitter divisions over migration, though the three ex-communist nations face no immediate penalty as the relocation of tens of thousands of people agreed by the EU was only envisaged until 2017.
"By refusing to comply with the temporary mechanism for the relocation of applicants for international protection, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have failed to fulfil their obligations under European Union law," the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union said in its ruling.
The eurosceptic, nationalist governments on the EU's eastern flank had cited national security reasons in refusing to take in any of the mostly Muslim refugees and migrants who had fled wars and poverty in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.
Frontline states such as Italy and Greece complained angrily over the lack of European solidarity as they struggled with mass arrivals that overwhelmed their security and welfare systems.
Wealthy northern European states such as Germany also criticised the ex-communist east for refusing to help while continuing to benefit from generous EU financial aid.