The European Commission has decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union over its “Stop Soros” package of laws, initiating the third phase of the ongoing infringement procedure in connection with that legislation.
Having deemed that the Hungarian government had not done enough to address its concerns, the EC decided to take the case to the Luxembourg-based court.
The infringement procedure was launched in July 2018.
In a statement, the EC said the new law and a related constitutional amendment were not compatible with EU law. Criminalising activities that support asylum and residence applications restricts the right to request asylum, it added.
“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 said.
The EC reasoned that the law excessively restricts EU citizens’ right to free movement and fails to take into consideration the rights of those affected as well as guarantees afforded to them under EU law.
The EC has also decided to send a letter of formal notice to Hungary concerning the withdrawal of food provisions for people detained in Hungarian transit zones at the border with Serbia who are waiting to be expelled from the country. The EC found that detention conditions in the Hungarian transit zones does not respect the material conditions 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 said.
Another decision taken by the EC concerns the referral of Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU for excluding non-EU nationals with long-term resident status from practising as vets.
Commenting on the EC’s decision, the government spokesman said Hungary would continue to stand by its “Stop Soros” laws and the constitutional amendment banning the mandatory settlement of migrants by non-Hungarian authorities in the country.
The Hungarian government is ready for the procedure, István Hollik said.
The contested measures serve the protection of the Hungarian people, Hollik said. Hungarians have made it very clear at referendums as well as the parliamentary and EP elections that they want nothing to do with migration and want to protect Europe’s Christian culture, he said.
The constitutional amendment prohibiting the settlement of migrants in Hungary and the “Stop Soros” laws, which criminalise the organisation and promotion of illegal migration, serve just that purpose, he said.
The government believes that those measures reflect the will of the Hungarian people and comply with the Geneva convention, the Schengen Agreement and the Dublin Regulation, Hollik said.
The government’s communications centre said in a statement that the outgoing European Commission “is still working to complete the dirty work of pro-migration forces”. According to the statement, 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”.
In its statement, the centre rejected “lies” concerning services for asylum-seekers and insisted that those in the transit zones are catered for “in line with the regulations” and are provided with those services until completion of their asylum process.