The European Commission has today decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) for non-compliance of its asylum and return legislation with EU law. The Commission has today sent a letter of formal notice to Hungary concerning new Hungarian legislation which criminalises activities that support asylum and residence applications and further restricts the right to request asylum.
On the Court referral for non-compliance with EU asylum and return legislation: the Commission first launched an infringement procedure against Hungary concerning its asylum laws in December 2015. Following a series of exchanges on both administrative and political levels and a complementary letter of formal notice, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion in December 2017. After analysing the reply provided by the Hungarian authorities, the Commission considers that the majority of the concerns raised have still not been addressed and has therefore now decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union – the last stage of the infringement procedure. The letter of formal notice concerning new Hungarian legislation criminalising activities in support of asylum applications:
The new legislation – so-called “Stop Soros” by the Hungarian authorities – criminalises any assistance offered by national, international and non-governmental organisations or by any person to people wishing to apply for asylum or for a residence permit in Hungary. The laws also include measures which restrict individual freedoms, by preventing anyone who is subject to a criminal procedure under these laws from approaching the transit zones at Hungary’s borders, where asylum seekers are held. Sanctions range from temporary confinement to imprisonment of up to one year and expulsion from the country.
In addition, the new law and a constitutional amendment have introduced new grounds for declaring an asylum application non-admissible, restricting the right to asylum only to people arriving in Hungary directly from a place where their life or freedom are at risk. The Commission has therefore concluded that Hungary is failing to fulfil its obligations under the EU Treaties, EU laws and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. The Hungarian authorities have 2 months to respond to the Commission’s concerns.