Hungarian reaction to refugee ruling "unacceptable": Merkel
12 Sep 2017, 22:57 ( 6 days ago)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has criticized Hungary sharply on Tuesday for refusing to abide by a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling concerning the distribution of refugees amongst European Union (EU) member states.
"It is unacceptable that a government says it is not interested in a ruling of the European Court of Justice," Merkel told the newspaper "Berliner Zeitung."
The ECJ recently ruled against a joint plea by Slovakia and Hungary to prevent the resettlement of refugees in their countries from other EU states under a previously agreed quota.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban responded by saying that he "took note" of the decision, but signalled his unwillingness to abide by it.
According to Orban, the ruling did not mean that Hungarians had to accept with whom they live together, as this is something which the Hungarians will decide.
For Merkel, such intransigence in the face of a ruling by the EU's foremost judicial authority could ultimately lead to excluding Hungary from the bloc.
When asked by "Berliner Zeitung" whether the country would have to leave the EU, the German leader said Hungary's position touches "an elementary question in Europe," because Europe for her is "a space governed by the rule of law." "We will hold discussions at the European Council in October," she said.
The Chancellor also emphasized that there was wide agreement amongst most EU members on how to react to the refugee crisis.
"When it comes to the fair distribution of refugees in Europe there are only three to four out of currently 28 member states which are vehemently opposed," Merkel said.
"All other states have declared a willingness to do their part, and following the European Court of Justice's ruling even the Slovakian prime minister is recalibrating his position," she noted.