Attorney General Athanasios Rantos, in an opinion published on Thursday, said Hungary’s imposition of criminal sanctions on organizations whose activity is to enable the initiation of asylum procedures for people who do not have an opportunity for international protection is inconsistent with European Union law.

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In 2018, Hungary tightened its asylum legislation, including the imposition of sanctions on organizations for “activities undertaken in order to enable the initiation of procedures for seeking international protection by persons who do not meet the criteria for granting this protection stipulated in national law.” This – in the terminology used by representatives of the Hungarian government – to facilitate illegal immigration.

Via Serbia into Hungary

The ruling specifically targeted organizations that transported migrants to Hungary via Serbia. For the avoidance of doubt, Budapest also took the arrival of a migrant from a safe third country as a criterion of ineligibility when applying for asylum. Serbia was on the list of these countries.

According to the opinion of the CJEU Prosecutor, the regulations on criminal records “violate the exercise of the rights guaranteed by the EU legislator in the field of assistance to persons seeking international protection”. Translation, Rantos noted that it is up to “the competent national authorities, and not the legal advisers, organizations or persons who provide assistance to applicants for international protection, to assess whether the reasons raised in the request justify granting this protection in accordance with the conditions required. By national legislation.”

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CJEU’s rulings are always in line with the opinions of public defenders.

mly / PAP