EC opens infringement procedure against Hungary over asylum law
Brussels, December 10 (MTI) – The European Commission is opening an infringement procedure against Hungary concerning the country’s asylum law, it was announced at an EC press conference on Thursday.
The commission said Hungary is not allowing full and proper appeal processes for asylum seekers. Normally a decision to reject asylum is automatically suspended if an appeal is made and new facts and circumstances can be admitted. But Hungary is forcing applicants to leave its territory before the time limit for lodging an appeal expires or before an appeal has been heard, the commission said.
The commission also raised concerns about Hungary’s handling of asylum seekers regarding their rights to translation and interpretation, saying the Hungarian law on fast-tracked criminal proceedings for irregular border crossings disregards European rules on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings.
A third concern was that Hungary’s law on the judicial review of decisions rejecting asylum applications does not guarantee personal hearings for applicants.
The commission said in a statement that it has sent a letter of formal notice to Hungary about opening the infringement procedure concerning the recently adopted Hungarian asylum legislation
The commission had already examined the legislative amendments adopted by the Hungarian parliament in July and September 2015 and sent an administrative letter outlining preliminary concerns to the Hungarian authorities.
The Hungarian authorities now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the commission in its formal notice. If no reply to the letter of formal notice is received, or if the observations presented by Hungary in reply to the notice cannot be considered satisfactory, the commission may decide to move to the next stage of the infringement procedure, and send a “reasoned opinion” to Hungary. If necessary, the commission may then refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU, the statement added.
In a statement, MEPs of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz-Christian Democratic parties insisted that the rules the European Commission are “trying to force upon Hungary” are not “realistic”.
Whereas Hungary introduced timely and efficient measures to stop the wave of illegal entrants, the commission is trying to make Hungary and other member states enforce rules which would only slow down procedures, the document said.
“People smugglers, illegal immigrants, and possible terrorists among them have purposely abused the loopholes in European law. Unless they are turned back firmly and fast, Europe will take further risks, while providing aid to real refugees will become impossible,” signatories to the statement wrote.