The EC has initiated the third phase of the ongoing infringement procedure against the country, declaring that the Hungarian government had not done enough to address its concerns. It has claimed that criminalising activities that support asylum and residence applications, restrict the right to request asylum.
“The Hungarian legislation curtails asylum applicants’ right to communicate with and be assisted by relevant national, international and non-governmental organisations by criminalising support to asylum applications”, the EC noted.
The case related to the infringement procedure which was launched in July 2018, will be heard in the Luxembourg-based court. In a statement, the EC said neither the new Hungarian law nor a related constitutional amendment were compatible with EU law.
Hungary has been sent a letter of formal notice over the withdrawal of food provisions for migrants which have been detained in transit zones at the border with Serbia, waiting to be expelled from the country.
The EC claims that the Hungarian transit zones do not conform to regulations set out in the Return Directive and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
“In view of the urgency of the situation, the deadline for Hungary to respond to the Commission’s concerns is set to 1 month, after which the Commission may decide to follow-up by sending a reasoned opinion,” the statement added.
But the Hungarian government was ready to defend itself in court, Istvan Hollik, government spokesman said. He said Hungary would continue to stand by its “Stop Soros” laws as well as the constitutional amendment banning the mandatory settlement of migrants by non-Hungarian authorities.
Both the constitutional amendment and the “Stop Soros” laws, criminalise the organisation and promotion of illegal migration, Hollik pointed out.
These measures, even though they may be contested, serve as protection for the Hungarian citizen, Hollik explained. Hungarians have expressed their opinions on the issue not only in various referendums, but also during the parliamentary and EP elections: they want nothing to do with migration and they want to protect Europe’s Christian culture.
Therefore such measures reflect the will of the Hungarian people and comply with the Geneva convention, the Schengen Agreement and the Dublin Regulation, Hollik underlined.
In a statement, the government’s communications centre said that the outgoing European Commission was “still working to complete the dirty work of pro-migration forces”. The commission’s procedures are aimed at “pressuring Hungary to drop its more stringent immigration rules and eliminate transit zones which are crucial for border protection,” the statement continued.
The centre rejected the “lies” about lacking services for asylum-seekers and insisted that those in transit zones are treated “in line with the regulations”.