The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has expressed concern over the return of asylum seekers illegally staying on Hungarian territory to the Serbian side of the border fence and called on Hungary to submit an action plan to end the measure, the 46-member Strasbourg-based Council of Europe (CoE) said on Friday. The criticism came despite Europe facing an unprecedented number of illegal economic migrants, a crisis that the current EU legislation is unable to address.
According to the Strasbourg communiqué, the ministerial committee reviewed the implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which operates under the supervision of the CoE, on asylum violations and expressed serious concern that although the competent Hungarian authorities have notified the organization about the start of the reform of the asylum system, no concrete measures have been communicated.
Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Photo: Wikipedia
The Ministerial Committee asked the Hungarian authorities to intensify their efforts to adopt the reform of the asylum system in order to ensure effective access to legal entry and asylum procedures at the border, in line with Hungary’s international obligations. The ministerial committee also called on the Hungarian authorities to immediately end the measure of sending asylum seekers back to Serbia from the state border without “identifying or examining their individual situation.”
The Committee of Ministers of the CoE also reiterated its call for Hungary to introduce effective legal remedies for those who claim that the expulsions are “collective in nature,” giving them the possibility to challenge the expulsion decision before an independent and impartial court.
If Hungary fails to make tangible progress by September next year, the CoE’s Committee of Ministers could take further steps to ensure that it complies with its obligations under the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights,
The communique is a further sign that major European legal and political institutions remain removed from the realities on the ground as far as the migration crisis is concerned, or they are willfully choosing to ignore the consequences of the lack of an effective European asylum policy. An individual asylum process with all migrants at the borders would break the Hungarian asylum system within days, as there are some four to six hundred illegal crossings a day at the Serbian-Hungarian border. Housing and feeding tens of thousands of asylum seekers awaiting a decision in their case would, furthermore, mean an unbearable burden on the Hungarian budget that the small country can ill afford.
The Hungarian border protection measures, though not 100 percent successful, are widely considered to be the most effective solution towards stopping the ever growing influx of illegal arrivals within the EU. Despite this, the CoE seems to be focusing on attacking the only government protecting the EU’s external borders in accordance with European treaties, instead of focusing its attention on countries that have relinquished their duty to protect their borders and are incentivizing further migration waves instead.
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