Published:  12:33 AM, 14 September 2017

Merkel threatens to kick Budapest out of EU

Merkel threatens to kick Budapest out of EU

Angela Merkel has threatened Hungary with expulsion from the EU over its refusal to adhere to Brussels' refugee allocation scheme.

The German Chancellor, who has faced criticism over her own open door policy on asylum seekers, said the country's refusal to comply with a European Court of Justice ruling risked Budapest's continued membership of the bloc. Speaking to Berliner Zeitung on Tuesday, Ms Merkel said it was "unacceptable" of Budapest to reject the ECJ's dismissal of its legal challenge against the EU scheme.

Hungary and Slovakia had tried to overturn the union's 2015 plan to relocate more than 160,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece across all 28 member states. 

But the case was dismissed by ECJ judges on Wednesday, who ruled that the allocations were "proportionate" and upheld the EU's initial plans. It means Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, all of which backed the challenge, are now legally obliged to take in an allocation of refugees as required by Brussels.

But the Hungarian government is furious with the ECJ's decision and refused to co-operate. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told a press conference after the ruling that politics had "raped European law and values".

"The ruling issued by the European Court of Justice in the migrant quota case is appalling and irresponsible," he said. So far Hungary is yet to admit a single refugee from its 1,294 EU quota. Slovakia has only accepted 16 from the 902 asylum seekers it was accorded.

But Ms Merkel told the German newspaper: "When a government ignores a ruling by the European Court of Justice that is unacceptable."

-AP, Berlin

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