>> The European Union can force member states to take in asylum seekers. That is the verdict of the bloc's top Court on Wednesday, the ECJ dismissing an attempt by Slovakia and Hungary to stop the transfers. It's the latest twist in a dispute that broke out two years ago when over a million migrant poured across the Mediterranean.
The eastern states have refused to accept refugees due to perceived security risks after a raft of Islamist attacks in Western Europe. But the ECJ ruled that the EU was entitled to assign them quotas of mainly Syrian refugees relocated from Italy and Greece. While Slovakia and Hungary won't be thrilled by the verdict, they may accept it for now.
Reuters Alastair Macdonald explains.>> What the Slovaks and the Hungarians will be looking for now is some perhaps fresh ideas. They've offered resources, they put the emphasis on tightening border controls to keep out what they see as illegal migrants, so some of the Eastern leaders are saying well they will provide guards.
They are happy to contribute to efforts to keep people out rather than to share out the effort of looking after those people who do make it across the border.>> Richer EU member including Italy say that eastern states can't opt out of the refugee relocations. Rome has called for non-cooperative states to be punished with a reduction in their EU funding.
While the EU has sought in vain to come up with a compromise, the court ruling may force Brussels' hand.>> There are a number of ideas now floating around for other emergency solidarity mechanisms to deal with what happens when/if another sudden migration crisis were to appear and put these kind of strains that are really well beyond the issues around asylum, migration and refugees.
Put fundamental strains on the structure of the European Union by dividing governments and dividing their public interests so sharply from each other.>> Any new plans while handling the refugee issue may eventually be put to a vote in Brussels. But any sign that deal is being forced on reluctant states looks certain to cause even more bad blood.