Under European Union law, national authorities assessing applications for international protection cannot restrict the applicant’s access to the relevant documents by citing a risk to the country’s national security posed by the applicant, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on Thursday, in connection with a case involving Hungary.
The case goes back to 2002, when a Hungarian court handed a prison sentence to an asylum seeker for drug abuse. In 2012, the Hungarian authorities granted the defendant refugee status, but that status was withdrawn in 2019. The defendant staying in the country was declared a risk to national security. Whereas he was not expelled, neither was he provided an explanation.
In its Thursday ruling, the CJEU condemned national regulations under which access to information serving as a basis to reject an application for asylum or to withdraw asylum status could be denied if access to such information was deemed to pose a security risk. Similarly, stipulations under which the asylum seeker could only access the requested information subsequently, on application, are against relevant EU directives, the court said, adding that the authorities’ failure to communicate their arguments for the negative decision also went against the directive.