Top EU court lashes Hungary over ‘Stop Soros’ migrant law
The European Union’s top court ruled Tuesday that Hungary broke EU law by making it a criminal offence for people or organisations to help migrants and refugees apply for asylum, in a new legal blow to Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government. Hungary erected a razor-wire barrier on its border with Serbia and Croatia in 2015 as well over 1 million people, most fleeing conflict in Syria, entered the EU, often from Turkey via Greece. Tens of thousands moved north, deeper into the EU, in search of sanctuary and better lives.
As more people arrived, Orban began to accuse Hungarian-born US billionaire George Soros and groups linked to him of encouraging the migrants. In 2018, Hungary’s government introduced legislation known as the “Stop Soros” laws that would make it an offence to help people apply for asylum.
The European Court of Justice said Hungary had failed to fulfil its EU obligations “by criminalising, in its national law, the actions of any person who, in connection with an organising activity, provides assistance in respect of the making or lodging of an application for asylum in its territory…”
The Luxembourg-based court said the legislation restricts “the right of access to applicants for international protection and the right to communicate with those persons,” as well as the right of the migrants themselves to consult a legal advisor or counsellor.
The court said the law cannot be justified by the aim of preventing “the assistance of misuse of the asylum procedure and of illegal immigration based on deception.”
Orban’s government is a staunch opponent of immigration. Its treatment of migrants and refugees has brought it into frequent conflict with many of its EU partners and the executive branch, the European Commission, which supervises the respect of the bloc’s laws.
Published at Tue, 16 Nov 2021 11:21:27 +0000