EU Court Urged to Rule Against Hungary 02/25 06:15
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) -- The advocate general for European Union's highest
court on Thursday urged the court to rule that Hungary violated the bloc's laws
on asylum when it passed legislation narrowing the possibilities for
asylum-seekers to receive international protection.
The non-binding opinion from the European Court of Justice's Advocate
General, Athanasios Rantos, states that the 2018 amendments to Hungary's asylum
laws --- which prohibited asylum-seekers who passed through safe countries en
route to Hungary from receiving international protection --- violated EU law.
"By introducing that ground for inadmissibility, Hungary has failed to
fulfill its obligations under the Procedures Directive," Rantos wrote,
referring to the EU's asylum protocols.
Opinions by advocates general are often but not always followed by the
European Court of Justice, which will make a final ruling on the case at a
The European Commission, the bloc's executive branch, brought the case
before the court as part of an infringement procedure it launched against
Hungary in 2018 over its non-compliance with asylum law.
Rantos also advised the court to rule that a Hungarian law that cracks down
on organizations and individuals that provide legal assistance to
asylum-seekers violates EU law. The legislation, known as the "Stop Soros" law,
was an amendment to Hungary's criminal code that threatened aid workers and
human rights advocates working with asylum-seekers with up to a year in prison.
It was approved by the Hungarian parliament in 2018.
The law was named after Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros, a
pro-democracy advocate who has long been a target of the Hungarian government.
Hungary's right-wing government has been a staunch opponent of immigration,
and its treatment of migrants have brought it into frequent conflict with the
rest of the 27-nation EU. Last year, the country closed its transit zones ---
enclosed areas along the southern border with Serbia used to hold
asylum-seekers while their asylum requests were being decided --- after the
European court ruled they amounted to detention and thus violated EU law.
Last month, the EU's border control agency, Frontex, suspended operations in
Hungary after the government in Budapest did not comply with a December ruling
by the European court that ordered Hungary to grant protection to
asylum-seekers as required by law and to stop returning them to Serbia.
The country's prime minister, Viktor Orban, claims he is seeking to protect
Hungary's conservative Christian identity and to defend Europe from immigration
from the Mideast and Africa.