tuesday, 24 july of 2018

European Union

European Commission takes Hungary to court over laws restricting asylum

The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, announced Thursday that it was referring Hungary to the European Court of Justice for violations of EU treaties regarding protections for asylum seekers.

The European Commission had been threatening Hungary since 2015, saying that their asylum laws were not compatible with EU law. After Hungary passed amendments to their asylum laws in 2017, the Commission renewed its efforts by sending a complementary letter of formal notice giving Hungarian officials two months to respond to allegations of infringement of EU directives. Following a reply by Hungary, the Commission found that Hungarian officials had not adequately addressed the issues brought in the letter, which led the Commission to refer Hungary to the ECJ by sending a letter of formal notice.

The Commission alleges that Hungary’s laws regarding transit zones at its borders infringe the Asylum Procedures Directive by only allowing asylum applications within those transit zones that have limited access and extremely lengthy waiting periods. The directive sets a maximum of 4 weeks for holding someone in a transit zone. The Commission also notes that Hungary’s deficient asylum procedures cause some migrants to be escorted back over the border despite their desire to apply for asylum. These practices are also said to be in conflict with the Reception Conditions Directive and the Return Directive.

The Commission sent a letter of formal notice on Thursday regarding recent Hungarian laws criminalizing actions that assist asylum and residence applications, saying that these laws are hurting migrant access to organizations that can help them through the process in derogation of both the Asylum Procedures Directive and the Reception Conditions Directive.

Hungarian officials will two months to respond to the issues presented in this new notice.

(Published by Jurist, Jul 23, 2018)

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