Viktor Orbán sent a letter to the European Commission asking them to suspend its infringement procedures against Hungary. However, the EC has rejected the Hungarian Prime Minister’s request to close the proceedings.
As we have previously reported, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán called on the European Commission on Monday to suspend all infringement procedures that would “undermine Member States’ actions aimed at the protection of their territorial and national integrity, as well as the security of their citizens.” According to Orbán, this is necessary because a new legal environment is needed for the migration situation at the Polish border. The request was supported by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Speaking at a press conference in Strasbourg, the Commission’s Vice-President, Margaritis Schinas, said that
There is no political room for maneuver in the infringement procedures. It is a strictly defined, by-the-book process. The only way to close such a procedure is if the underlying case is resolved.”
He added that “You cannot stop an infringement procedure for political reasons or by sending letters.”
The European Commission is taking action against Hungary in four cases, having summoned the government to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in mid-November for failing to address several elements of last December’s CJEU judgment, and also launched infringement proceedings for poor execution of EU directives on counter-terrorism. And last week, the European Commission sent a letter to the Hungarian and Polish governments anticipating the opening of a rule of law mechanism procedure.
According to the Hungarian Prime Minister, the European Council in October 21-22, 2021 unanimously decided that urgent measures must be taken to address the recent migration pressures and invited the Commission to propose the necessary changes to the European Union’s legal framework and concrete measures based on adequate financial support to ensure an immediate and appropriate response. The rationale was that the current legal framework does not reflect reality, is outdated and dysfunctional, he added.
In December of last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that the Hungarian authorities had unlawfully detained refugees who had arrived in the EU via Hungary in transit zones, in breach of EU law on their applications for international protection and on their expulsion. The government argued that the ruling could violate provisions of the constitution, and in February it referred the case to the Hungarian Constitutional Court, which has been hearing the case since then.
Featured image via Zoltán Fischer/Prime Minister’s Press Office/MTI