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Slovakia files court challenge to EU migrant quotas: PM


Migrants begin walking towards the Austrian border in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary, on. PHOTO: stuff

Migrants begin walking towards the Austrian border in Bicske, near Budapest, Hungary, on.<br />PHOTO: stuff

Slovakia said Wednesday it had mounted a legal challenge to the EU’s plan to distribute 160,000 asylum-seekers among member-states under a quota system.

“The Slovak republic has officially filed a lawsuit against the Council of the European Union, to the highest court … in Luxembourg,” leftist Prime Minister Robert Fico said.

The suit challenges “so-called mandatory quotas” on refugee re-location adopted by the EU in September, he said.

The European Court of Justice adjudicates in disputes over how EU law is interpreted and applied.

“We demand that the court annul this decision, pronounce it invalid and require the Council to pay the costs of legal proceedings,” Fico said Wednesday.

Under the EU’s quota system, Bratislava is expected to take in just under 2,300 migrants.

Fico slammed the quota programme as a “total fiasco” and said “we have to find another way” of dealing with the EU’s migrant inflow.

A nation of 5.4 million people, Slovakia is among several eastern European countries that are staunchly against a system of migrant quotas designed to ease the burden on countries like Greece, Italy and Germany that have received the lion’s share of arrivals.

Few migrants have entered Slovakia on their voyage to western Europe, and even fewer asylum-seekers have chosen to stay.

EU neighbour Hungary has also said it will challenge the contentious quota scheme.

Seeking re-election in March, the popular Fico has previously said he would rather risk infringing EU rules than implement what he described as the EU’s “diktat” migrant quotas.

Fico had in September raised the spectre of terrorists slipping into Slovakia masquerading as refugees, a possibility experts had deemed at the time to be unlikely.

In the wake of the November 13 terror attacks in Paris, he said authorities were “monitoring every Muslim in Slovakia”.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated in late November that nearly 860,000 migrants had landed in Europe so far this year, with over 3,500 dying while crossing the Mediterranean in search of safety.

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