Migration and Asylum: Commission takes further steps in infringement procedures against Hungary

Governance – Migration-Asylum: Hungary

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Migration and Asylum: Commission takes further steps in infringement procedures against Hungary
European Commission – Press release Brussels, 19 July 2018
The European Commission has today decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for non-compliance of its asylum and return legislation with EU law.

The Commission has also today sent a letter of formal notice to Hungary concerning new Hungarian legislation which criminalises activities that support asylum and residence applications and further restricts the right to request asylum.

Court referral for non-compliance with EU asylum and return legislation
The Commission first launched an infringement procedure against Hungary concerning its asylum laws in December 2015. Following a series of exchanges on both administrative and political levels and a complementary letter of formal notice, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion in December 2017. After analysing the reply provided by the Hungarian authorities, the Commission considers that the majority of the concerns raised have still not been addressed and has therefore now decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union – the last stage of the infringement procedure.

Specifically, the Commission finds that Hungarian legislation is incompatible with EU law in the following respects:
Asylum procedures: Whilst EU legislation provides the possibility for Member States to establish transit zones at the external borders, the Hungarian legislation falls short of the requirements of the Asylum Procedures Directive as it only allows asylum applications to be submitted within such transit zones where access is granted only to a limited number of persons and after excessively long waiting periods. The border procedure implemented by Hungary is not in compliance with EU law as it does not respect the maximum duration of 4 weeks in which someone can be held in a transit centre and fails to provide special guarantees for vulnerable applicants. Within its territory, Hungary fails to provide effective access to asylum procedures as irregular migrants are escorted back across the border, even if they wish to apply for asylum.

Reception conditions: The Commission considers that the indefinite detention of asylum seekers in transit zones without respecting the applicable procedural guarantees is in breach of EU rules as set out in the Reception Conditions Directive.

Return: The Hungarian law does not comply with the EU’s Return Directive as it fails to ensure that return decisions are issued individually and include information on legal remedies. As a result, migrants risk being returned without the appropriate safeguards and in breach of the non-refoulement principle…