Hungary has failed to fulfill its obligations under EU law by making the possibility of lodging an application for international protection conditional, on the prior submission of a letter of intent at a Hungarian embassy in a non-EU country, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on Thursday.
The case comes after Hungary adopted a new law in 2020, following the outbreak of Covid-19, requiring non-EU nationals residing on its territory or arriving at its borders and seeking international protection to undergo a preliminary procedure.
The legislation requires immigrants to go to the Hungarian embassy in Belgrade or Kiev to submit a letter of intent to apply for international protection.
The European Commission considered that by adopting these provisions, Hungary had failed to fulfill its obligations under EU law, in particular the directive on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection. It therefore brought an action for failure to fulfill obligations before the Court of Justice of the European Union.
In a judgment delivered on Thursday, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled that the Hungarian legislation deprives the nationals from the non-EU countries concerned of the effective exercise of their right to apply for asylum in Hungary, as guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. They said that
the restriction imposed cannot be justified on the ground that the introduction of the legislation is part of the objective of protecting public health, in particular the fight against the spread Covid-19.
Although Member States may, exceptionally, lay down rules on the submission of applications for international protection aimed at curbing the spread of communicable diseases in their territories, these measures must be appropriate to that objective and not disproportionate to it, the court pointed out.
On the Balkan route, which concerns Hungary directly, illegal migrants destroy their documents so that their identities cannot be established.
Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office, also touched on the issue at the Government Info meeting on Thursday, saying that he regretted the court’s ruling that Hungarian asylum legislation violates EU obligations. He said he did not understand why the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled it unlawful if the European Court of Human Rights had already ruled it lawful. He added that he was confident that they would be able to start a conciliation process that would allow them to return to the previous rules.
The Minister pointed out that what the government expects from the European Commission is to come up with rules to make applications eligible before they cross the border, and there are already calls from Member States to do so. He believes that the Court of Justice of the EU, among others, is misinterpreting asylum, which should be separated from migration.
Meanwhile, the European Union does not seem to be heading towards a way to stop illegal migration, and the increasing number of arrivals are a clear indication that illegal migrants continue to come to the EU in masses, since no one puts a stop to this phenomenon.
Moreover, there is also the case of the most recent proposal of the so-called migrant quota. Under this agreement, each EU Member State would be responsible for a certain number of people, but would not necessarily have to take them in. Countries that are not willing to take in illegal migrants and refugees arriving in the EU could help with money – around €22,000 per person – equipment, or staff. Of the 27 Member States, 21 supported the proposal, while four abstained. Hungary opposed it, along with Poland.
Source: Hungary Today