picture of Stop Soros poster

The European Court of Justice has found several provisions of the “Stop Soros” law to be contrary to EU law, reports HVG. The disputed legislation was passed by the Hungarian Parliament in the summer of 2018 over protests from numerous domestic and international organizations.

The “Stop Soros” Act has, in fact, made it impossible for asylum seekers to submit asylum applications from a safe third country, the court found.

The Court had already ruled in other judgments that the phrase “safe transit country,” created by the Hungarian legislature, is contrary to both European and international law, and thus an asylum application cannot be rejected on that basis.

The other disputed point was the criminalization of assistance to asylum seekers, in which the Orbán government wanted to prevent NGO representatives from contacting asylum seekers, informing them of their rights, assisting them in the asylum process, and explaining their options to them. The “Stop Soros” law forbade these organizations from establishing contact with those who arrived to the Hungarian border through a “safe transit country.”

However, the European Court of Justice also found that restrictions on the activities of non-governmental organizations were incompatible with EU law.

Since then, Hungary has modified the law, but it has made the asylum procedure even stricter, if that is possible. The applicant must first undergo a pre-screening procedure at a foreign consulate to determine whether they have a chance of obtaining asylum. Only then may that person enter Hungary as a refugee.

This procedure now makes it impossible to lodge an asylum application directly at the border, which is why the European Commission has already initiated infringement proceedings against Hungary.

[HVG]

By Steven N.

Steven is the editor-in-chief of Hungarian Politics. He has been following the political scene in Hungary and the Central European region more or less since 1994.