“At its first hearing, the Hungarian Government has raised ten arguments against the quota system, which indicates that the mechanism is in itself unfounded and rests on precarious legal foundations”, Minister of State for Government Communication Bence Tuzson said at a press conference in Budapest on Wednesday.

The Minister of State called the legal case between Brussels and Hungary being heard at the Court of Justice of the European Union the first truly open battle between the two parties.

The Government’s arguments are mainly based on procedural law, the most important argument against the mechanism aimed at distributing asylum seekers being that according to the treaty signed with the EU, the community does not have the right to decide on entry or on changing a country’s makeup, population and culture, he explained.

Mr. Tuzson stressed that such decisions are contrary to several EU principles and also to the Geneva Convention. With relation to the latter he said that the Geneva Convention expressly prohibits asylum seekers who are granted asylum in a certain country from being resettled to another country. He also pointed out that the opinion of national parliaments had not been consulted prior to the EU decision.

According the Minister of State, the quota case will provide a reply on principle to the question of whether national interests are capable of being enforced before the Court, or if the body is only prepared to listen to Brussels and issues a ruling accordingly.

Mr. Tuzson pointed out that several decisions had already been made on the issue, including a Council decision on voluntary transfer, followed by a more forceful Commission decision concerning mandatory resettlement. “Although this decision related to a predetermined number of immigrants, the European Commission then launched a legislative process aimed at introducing a resettlement system with no upper limit”, he added, indicating that this is of doctrinal significance, because if countries adopt the acceptance of a predetermined number of immigrants then all obstacles to the introduction of an unlimited mechanism throughout Europe will also have been removed.

The Minister of State also objected to the fact that it was not taken into account that the Council of Foreign Ministers had not come to a unanimous decision on the matter in view of the fact that, amongst others, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia had all protested against the quotas. It was following this that the national Assembly decided to go to court, and Slovakia came to a similar decision, after which Poland also joined the case as an intervener.

In reply to a question form the press, Mr. Tuzson said the quota case was expected to come to a close in late summer.