Hungarian asylum legislation still in the target of the European Commission

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The final step of the infringement procedure initiated by the Commission: the referral to the Court of Justice:

The Commission has followed to the letter the provisions of article 258 TFEU on referral to the Court in the event of a Member State’s failure to comply with EU legislation. In December 2015, the Commission opened an infringement procedure against Hungary regarding its asylum legislation by sending a first letter of formal notice. The Commission found the Hungarian response unsatisfactory, and sent a second letter of formal notice (17th May 2017[1]) and a motived opinion (7th December 2017), thus deciding to continue the infringement procedure. On 19 July 2018, the Commission initiated the final phase of this procedure by bringing an action against Hungary to the Court of Justice for failure to fulfil obligations. The Commission considers that Hungarian law is incompatible with the EU law on three elements:

  • Failure with the provisions of the “Procedures” Directive[2]: presentation of asylum applications only within transit zones at the external borders, restricted access to these areas, excessively long waiting times and retention periods within these areas, no actual access to asylum procedures.
  • Failures with the provisions of the “Welcome” Directive[3]: unlimited retention of asylum seekers, no procedural guarantees applicable to these retentions.
  • Failures with the provisions of the “Return” Directive[4]: insufficient procedural safeguards for return decisions (no information on remedies, decisions not taken on an individual basis).

New infringement procedure opened by Commission against ‘Stop Soros’ legislation:

The sulfurous Hungarian law known as “Stop Soros” is officially in the target of the Commission. On 19 July 2018, the Commission launched the first step of the infringement procedure by sending a letter of formal notice to the Hungarian authorities. The Commission is particularly concerned about the introduction of new grounds effectively limiting the right of asylum to only those who come to Hungary from a territory where their life or freedom is threatened and the criminalisation of activities supporting asylum and residential applications.

Can we hope that concerns expressed by the Commission will be heard by Hungary and thus avoid a referral to the Court of Justice?

Click here to access the press release

[1]See the AEDH note

[2]See the “Procedures” Directive

[3] See the “Welcome” Directive

[4]See the “Return” Directive