Commission Refers Hungary to Court of Justice Over Its Failure to Comply With EU Rules on Asylum & Return

The Commission of the European Union has taken Hungary to the Court of Justice after the country has failed to respond to the block’s continuous requests to align its migration laws with the EU rules on asylum and return.

In November 2021’s package of infringement decisions, through which the Commission undertakes legal action against the Member States who fail to comply with their obligations set under the EU law, Hungary has been referred to the Court of Justice after failing to comply with the previous requests of the Commission.

The European Commission has decided today to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union, requesting that the Court order the payment of financial penalties for Hungary’s failure to comply with a Court ruling in relation to EU rules on asylum and return,” a press release on the issue reads.

The case dates back to 2015 and 2017 when Hungary adopted the EU laws on the right to asylum and on the return of non-EU nationals who do not have the right to remain in the EU, as a result of which transit zones had been created at the Serbian-Hungarian border.

The Hungarian authorities had then started to avoid applying certain rules set out in the Asylum Procedures, Reception Conditions and Return Directives claiming they were maintaining public order and preserving internal security.

Now, the Commission wants the Court of Justice to order Hungary to pay financial penalties for failing to comply with an EU law.

In view of the continued non-compliance with the Court’s judgment, on June 9, 2021, the Commission sent Hungary a letter of formal notice under Article 260(2) TFEU. Today, the Commission is asking the Court to impose financial sanctions in the form of a lump sum and a daily penalty payment,” the package further explains regardin the case.

The same claims that Hungary has failed to take the necessary measures to make sure that asylum seekers have effective access to the asylum procedures. It has also failed to clarify the conditions regarding the rights of asylum seekers to remain in the territory of the country when appealing a decision.

In December 2020, the Commission had sent a letter of formal notice to Hungary regarding the non-conformity of a provision in the Hungarian Asylum Act with the EU public procurement rules (Directive 2014/24/EU), calling on the government to correct the failures as soon as possible.

Later, on February 2021, Hungary was sent the last warning to comply with the EU asylum law before the Commission took the issue to the EU Court of Justice.

At the time, a report of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) highlighting the differences across the EU Member States for border procedures for asylum seekers had pointed out that Hungary was among the countries not using the border procedure, alongside Cyprus, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Slovakia.

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