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EC reacts to report that Hungary will halt asylum process

EU

Hungary’s unilateral refusal to process asylum seekers, which was announced late yesterday, may go against EU laws and could have serious consequences, international lawyer Boldizsár Nagy told Hungarian online daily origo.hu today. Meanwhile the European Commission is demanding an explanation.

According to origo.hu, the government announced yesterday that it would suspend the Dublin III Regulation, a European Union law that is meant to “determine rapidly the Member State responsible [for an asylum claim]” and provide for the transfer of an asylum seeker to that Member State. Usually, the responsible Member State will be the state through which the asylum seeker first entered the EU.

The Hungarian government said the decision was made based on “technical reasons” origo.hu reports. Government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács was cited in Austrian media saying that “the boat is full” in reference to the influx of migrants to Hungary. “We all wish for a European solution, but we need to protect Hungarian interests and our population,” Kovács reportedly said.

Despite the governmentʼs standpoint, the European Commission urged an immediate explanation as to why the country stopped taking back asylum seekers from other states in defiance of EU rules, Reuters reported. “As the Dublin rules do not foresee the suspension of transfers by the receiving member states, the Commission has asked Hungary for immediate clarification on the nature and extent of the technical failure, and on the measures taken to remedy the situation,” a Commission spokeswoman said, according to Reuters.

“Hungary has used up the capacities at its disposal,” the Hungarian government reportedly said in a statement, adding that “the situation requires fast action; in this escalated situation Hungary needs to make a move ahead of EU decisions.”

International lawyer Nagy told Origo that the regulation cannot be suspended and the current decision by Hungary could lead to political and legal reactions from Brussels. According to the lawyer, Hungarian politicians might be “discriminated” against in EU meetings and in any future situation in which the EU needs to decide on issues regarding Hungary, it could opt to choose those unfavorable to the country. The European Commission could also launch infringement proceedings against the country.

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