Frontex, the European Union’s official border agency, announced on Wednesday that it is suspending its joint operations along the Hungarian border. Its reasoning is that Hungary is violating current rule of law norms, which the European Court of Justice has declared unlawful.
Chris Borowski, Frontex’s spokesman, confirmed that the agency will not return until Hungary fully complies with the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union with regards to the treatment of asylum applicants, reports MTI.
In its decision, the court stated that Hungary has failed to follow the EU “procedures for granting international protection and returning illegally staying third-country nationals.”
EU law dictates that any applicant for international protection in the Schengen area must receive protection in their host country until a decision is made regarding their application for asylum.
Hungarian border guards however, have turned refugees back to Serbia without first screening them and giving them a right to prove their deservingness of refugee status.
The European Court ruled last year that this violates EU law, but since Hungarian authorities ignored the ruling, Hungary’s behavior is now considered a rule of law violation.
According to NGO Hungarian Helsinki Committee, since 2016, 50 thousand asylum seekers have been forced to return to the Serbian side of the border without the opportunity to prove their refugee status.
Orbán Gov’t: “Hungary won’t give in to pressure from pro-migration forces”
The Frontex’s decision led to state secretary for international communications and relations Zoltán Kovács to respond saying: “It seems Brussels wants to take away even the little bit we [Hungary] did get.” “Hungary won’t give in to pressure from pro-migration forces. We’ll continue to defend the Hungarian people and the country and EU’s borders,” Kovács said on Twitter. “We hope this is not a sign that some want to withhold funding from those countries that insist on protecting the borders.”
Featured photo illustration via Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s Facebook page