On Thursday, the highest court in the EU found that Hungary had violated its commitments outlined in the statute of the union by “unduly hindering” the ability of persons to seek refuge in the country.
In 2020, the nationalist government of Hungary, under by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, implemented new procedures that required non-EU citizens to apply for asylum at one of Hungary’s embassies located outside of the EU before being granted permission to go to the country in central Europe to seek refugee status.
As a result, the European Commission (EC) initiated infringement procedures against Hungary for the “incorrect application of EU asylum legislation”
The judgment handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) said that the method in question prevented the individuals in question from “effectively enjoying their right to seek asylum from Hungary.”
“The option of applying for asylum in Hungary has been artificially and unreasonably hampered by Hungary… The court found that Hungary “has failed to fulfill its obligations in accordance with EU law.”
The method was described as “constituting a manifestly disproportionate interference with the right of persons seeking international protection,” according to the document.
The decision was made by Hungary in response to the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic; nevertheless, the court stated that it is of the opinion that “the restriction laid down may not be justified by the objective of public health protection.”
According to the court’s ruling, Hungary is required to comply with the order “without delay”; otherwise, the commission may take additional action to pursue financial penalties against Hungary.
Gergely Gulyas, Orban’s chief of staff, delivered similar comments to the press. “We regret that the ECJ has made this decision, but we also regret that the EC and ECJ are forcing us to change these rules,” he said.
He also stated that Hungary has established these regulations “to make it clear at the latest at the border that if someone wants to enter the EU area, the Schengen zone, they must already be bringing refugee status with them.”
There have been periodic disagreements between Budapest and Brussels on a variety of issues, including what is seen as a deterioration of the rule of law and Orban’s hardline stance against migration.
Since 2015, the government of Viktor Orban has refused to accept EU obligatory relocation quotas of refugees from other parts of the union and has constructed highly guarded barriers along Hungary’s borders with Serbia and Croatia. These fences run the length of Hungary.
As a result of a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the year 2020 that declared so-called border “transit zone” camps in Hungary for asylum-seekers to be “unlawful detention,” Budapest decided to shut the camps.
Orban criticized the most recent proposal from the EU to share the hosting of asylum seekers more evenly last week, comparing it to deportations during times of war.