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EU court: Hungary fails to fulfill EU directive on access to asylum procedure

Hungary has failed to fulfill its obligation set in EU directives by restricting access to international protection procedures for third-country nationals in a new law, the EU's court in Luxembourg said on Thursday.

The ruling pertains to the law Hungary adopted in 2020 after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic which requires asylum-seekers of a third-country present in Hungary’s territory including its borders to first submit a declaration of intent to the Hungarian embassy in Belgrade or Kyiv.

The European Commission took the case to the Luxembourg court citing non-fulfillment of EU directives on the right of accessing procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection.

In its ruling announced on Thursday, the court said that the Hungarian law restricts third-country nationals from exercising their right to an asylum procedure set under directives of the EU Charters in Hungarian territory.

The court said that member states may, in exceptional cases, impose new rules on the submission of asylum applications citing the aim to curb the spread of infectious diseases in their territory, adding however that the rules must not be “disproportionate”.

It said that the restrictions contained in the Hungarian law cannot be justified with the reasoning that they had been introduced as part of measures aimed at protecting public health, specifically the fight against the spread of the pandemic.

By requiring third-country nationals to undergo a procedure at a Hungarian diplomatic representation abroad and obtain an entry permit Hungary has failed to fulfil its obligations deriving from EU law, the court said in its ruling.

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