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Hungary broke EU law on treatment and processing of migrants, says top European court’s advocate general

Hungary broke EU law on treatment and processing of migrants, says top European court’s advocate general
The EU’s advocate general has delivered a damming opinion on Hungary’s treatment and processing of migrants following its 2018 reforms, noting that Budapest failed to fulfill its obligations under European law.

“By imposing criminal penalties on organizing activities intended to enable persons to initiate the international protection procedure who do not fulfill the national criteria for the grant of that protection, Hungary has failed to fulfill its obligations under EU law,” the European Court of Justice’s advocate general said in a statement on Thursday. 

The statement refers to Hungary’s reform of its migrant policy in 2018, which made it almost impossible for most asylum seekers to access protection in Hungary as well as criminalizing the act of aiding undocumented migrants in their transit. 

“The criminalisation of those activities impinges on the exercise of the rights guaranteed by the EU legislature concerning assistance for applicants for international protection,” the statement said. 

The advocate general’s opinion is not binding, although the EU’s top court normally follows their guidance. 

Also on rt.com Hungary dismisses ruling after top EU court finds Orban’s government broke asylum laws

In June 2018, the Hungarian parliament passed a package of legislation known as the ‘Stop Soros’ bill. The bill criminalized the aiding of migrants and even stipulated prison sentences for those found guilty. A constitutional amendment made in addition to the bill stated that an “alien population” cannot be settled in Hungary. 

In December, Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga dismissed a similar EU court ruling as “devoid of purpose,” after it said Hungary broke European rules by denying vulnerable migrants the right to apply for asylum and forcibly deporting people to the border. 

At the peak of the migrant crisis in 2015, President Viktor Orban ordered the Hungarian authorities to erect a barrier and close the country’s southern border with non-EU nation Serbia. Hungarian police also forcibly deported many migrants to “a strip of land devoid of any infrastructure” at the Serbian border – a move which was blasted by the EU court.

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