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European Union May Start Infringement Procedure over Hungary’s ‘Stop Soros’ Laws

2018.07.18.

The European Commission is likely to initiate an infringement procedure against Hungary on Thursday concerning its recently passed “Stop Soros” package of laws, MTI learnt from EU officials on Wednesday.

As a first step, the commission will send a letter of formal notice concerning the laws, which the body has found problematic in various ways. The Hungarian authorities will then have one or two months to respond to the concerns.

In case the government’s response the formal notice not forthcoming or unsatisfactory, the commission will send a reasoned opinion as a second step and then escalate the matter to the European Court of Justice, if necessary.

Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party said that “Brussels is again championing Soros” and “trying to put Hungary under pressure.” János Halász, parliamentary spokesman of Fidesz added that the European Commission is “strongly influenced by the Soros network and promotes its pro-migration policy.” He argued that scrapping laws under which migrants cannot be settled in the country would “obviously” serve the interests of “the Soros network and allied Brussels politicians,” who continue their efforts to “flood Europe with migrants for reasons of political and financial speculation.”

Halász added:

We insist that Hungary will not be a migrant destination and we cannot accept that migrants are openly encouraged to bypass European and Hungarian laws.

Earlier, legal experts of the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body on issues of constitutional law, called for the repeal of the “Stop Soros” legislation, as its provisions “unfairly” criminalizing freedom of organization and association, and as such constitute

illegitimate interference with freedom of expression.

The laws, which critics have called “a violation of human rights law,” punish individuals or groups providing aid to migrants with possible imprisonment.

Hungarian Parliament Passes “Stop Soros”, Amendments Modifying Judiciary and Freedom of Assembly

The Orbán government has defended the measures by arguing that they are necessary in order to “defend Hungary.” The Hungarian parliament passed the contested laws in June, aimed at penalizing the “promotion or organization of illegal migration.”

via MTI, Venice Commission