European Commission Takes Hungary To Court Over Migrant Quotas, NGO Law, Lex CEU – PM Orbán’s Reaction!
Tamás Székely 2017.12.08.
The European Commission is stepping up infringement procedures against Hungary concerning three areas: EU migrant quotas, the law on foreign-funded NGOs and the law on higher education known as “Lex CEU”. The EC said on Thursday that it will refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) over the three related laws.
#1 – Migrant quotas
EC referred Hungary to the European court for failing to comply with a temporary emergency relocation scheme for refugees, stating that “Hungary has not taken any action at all since the relocation scheme started”. The EC also referred the Czech Republic and Poland to the court over non-compliance on the matter.
EC launched infringement procedures against the three countries on the issue in June and took the process to the next level in July. Hungary and Slovakia earlier challenged the scheme in the CJEU, but the court rejected their request to annul the decision by the Council of the European Union on the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers.
#2 – NGO law
The EC also decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice over legislation on foreign-funded NGOs which “indirectly discriminates and disproportionately restricts donations from abroad to civil society organisations”.
“The Commission is also of the opinion that Hungary violates the right to freedom of association and the rights to protection of private life and personal data enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, read in conjunction with the EU Treaty provisions on the free movement of capital,” it added.
The EC launched an infringement procedure against Hungary over the law in August and stepped up the procedure with the issue of a “reasoned opinion” in October. The EC said Hungary had failed to reply to the reasoned opinion by the one-month deadline and had not taken steps to amend or repeal the contested provisions in the NGO law. The legislation on NGOs requires full disclosure of foreign funding over 7.2 million forints (EUR 23,400) a year.
#3 – Lex CEU
Further, the EC has referred Hungary to the EU court over amendments to the country’s higher education act. The amended legislation “disproportionally restricts EU and nonEU universities in their operations and needs to be brought back in line with EU law”, it said.
Last April, the EC launched the infringement procedure against Hungary over the amendments which require foreign colleges and universities in Hungary to operate on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement and to have a campus in the country in which they are based. It stepped up the procedure by sending the country a “reasoned opinion” on the matter in July, and it requested additional clarification in October.
Hungary has “maintained its position” on the law and has not brought it in line with EU legislation, the EC said. The EC argued that the amended legislation violates the freedom to provide services, the freedom of establishment, the directive on services in the internal market, academic freedom rights, the right to education and the freedom to conduct a business as provided by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.
Hungarian Prime Minsiter’s reaction: “Debate is about freedom”
The current debate in the European Union pertains to freedom and to the question of whether all countries should be “obligated to become an immigration country”, or they can retain the sovereignty “to say no to that future”, Hungarian Prime Minister said in an interview broadcast on commercial Echo Tv on Thursday night.
Commenting on the three infringement procedures being turned over to the Court of Justice of the European Union, Viktor Orbán said that these are issues to be taken seriously, and Hungary should present its arguments convincingly. He insisted that the issues “of the university (CEU), the pseudo-NGOs and the quota scheme” all lead to US financier George Soros, “whose problems in turn lead to the issue of immigration”. The CEU is Soros’s university, he funds and directs the NGOs, and migration is part of his plan, he said.
The Hungarian Premier showed a document in the interview, saying it was Soros’s six-point plan under which Europe should be turned into a mixed culture. The Hungarian government fights against “a very real plan”, he said. There is an ever growing gap between what western European people think of immigration and their leaders’ actions, Orbán said. This gap “could only grow up to a certain point” and then the people will “sack their leaders”, he warned. “In the end, the majority will follow our views”, he added.
Hungary should learn from the errors of the West, Orbán said. Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but to a lower one. This should be forestalled while there is still time, he said. Many of those purporting migration “believe truly” that mixing cultures is the path to the development of mankind. This might be inspirational, “but it is against common sense”, he said. Accepting people from very remote cultures among us does not lead to a beautiful life, but to parallel societies. We would import hatred, anti-Semitism, the end of the equality of women and of freedom of religion, he said.
Commenting on Thursday’s hearing by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) in Brussels, Viktor Orbán said that Hungary has cleared up all debated issues regarding democracy before 2013 with the European Union. Hungary has “no debate on democracy”, while the European Parliament (EP) uses it as an excuse to attack the country, he said. The EP is the “politically most motivated” part of the “Brussels machinery”, Orbán said. If something happening in Hungary harms the interests of great powers, companies or people, the EP will be the first “to leap to attack our country”, he added.