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Hungarian Asylum Law: European Commission Launches Infringement Procedure

By Tamás Székely // 2015.12.11.

The European Commission is opening an infringement procedure against Hungary concerning the country’s asylum law. The commission said Hungary is not allowing full and proper appeal processes for asylum seekers. Hungarian cabinet chief János Lázár said in response that EC’s new procedure against Hungary over its asylum law is an act of “revenge”.

Normally a decision to reject asylum is automatically suspended if an appeal is made and new facts and circumstances can be admitted. But Hungary is forcing applicants to leave its territory before the time limit for lodging an appeal expires or before an appeal has been heard, the commission said. EC also raised concerns about Hungary’s handling of asylum seekers regarding their rights to translation and interpretation, saying the Hungarian law on fast-tracked criminal proceedings for irregular border crossings disregards European rules on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings. A third concern was that Hungary’s law on the judicial review of decisions rejecting asylum applications does not guarantee personal hearings for applicants.

The real reason for the infringement procedure was that Hungary has lodged a legal appeal against the EU’s mandatory migrant quota scheme, Hungarian government office chief János Lázár said in response, adding that the Hungarian cabinet is convinced that the country’s asylum laws are in line with constitutional and human rights norms. The government is prepared to discuss the procedure with the EC or to take the matter to court if necessary, he said. Concerning a recent proposal to restrict the Schengen area of free movement from which Hungary would be excluded, Lázár said the idea was “part of the revenge” and said that “they are stealthily trying to force us out of Schengen”. “They keep on threatening us and trying to make us accommodate migrants.” Lázár said that the European Union is planning to send 40,000 migrants back to Hungary, mostly from Germany and Austria. He added that Hungary would “not cooperate”.

via and MTI photo: Balázs Mohai – MTI