Slovakia filed a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice on December 2 against the EU’s decision to allocate mandatory migrant quotas among member states.
It is the first country to make a move. However, Hungary has announced it also plans to launch a legal challenge to the motion, which was passed by the Council of Europe via a rare majority vote in September.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has put up a vicious fight against the quotas, which appears largely driven by populism. Despite provoking heavy criticism from the Slovak opposition and president, as well as in Brussels, his stance has helped the ruling party Smer gain popularity ahead of elections set for March elections.
Fico now claims that the EU’s decision to redistribute 120,000 refugees among member states should be declared invalid, according to TASR news agency. Slovakia also asks that the EU should pay the costs of the legal proceedings.
Under the EU plan, Slovakia would have to accept 802 refugees, more than the 650 to whom the country has granted asylum in the 22 years since it gained independence. Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania joined the country in voting against the plan in September. At the same time, the Czech government, while making the right noises to suggest support for its Visegrad peers, has agreed to toe Brussels' line, and pledged it will not launch legal action against the plan.
However, following the terrorist attacks in Paris in early November, and the appointment of a new nationalist government, Poland, the only member of the Visegrad Four to break ranks to support the quotas, has changed its view. It now says it may not accept its quota of refugees.
Hungary has also reacted to the horrors in France in early November by trying to connect terrorism to migrants. The parliament in Budapest passed a bill on November 17 paving the way for legal action. The lawsuit will be filed at European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in early December, the justice ministry claims.