Wednesday July 24, 2024

Hungary will not pay ‘unfair’ fine for breaching EU asylum rules

July 06, 2024
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at a press conference in March. — AFP/File
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at a press conference in March. — AFP/File 

BUDAPEST: Hungary, which took over the EU´s rotating presidency this week, on Friday said it would not pay a multi-million-euro fine imposed by the bloc´s top court for violating asylum rules.

In June, the European Court of Justice fined Hungary 200 million euros ($216 million) and imposed a daily one-million-euro penalty for not carrying out a 2020 ruling that it must uphold international procedures for asylum seekers. “We are not planning on paying this fine because this is completely unfair,” Deputy Interior Minister Bence Retvati told journalists.

“This fine that we received was political pressure because of our approach to illegal migration,” he added.

Contrary to European Union rules, Budapest only allows asylum seekers to submit their application abroad at Hungarian embassies.

In December 2020, ECJ found that Hungary did not allow asylum seekers to leave detention while their cases were considered and offered no special protection to children and other vulnerable people. Budapest has continued to restrict migrants´ access to formally asking for asylum and not upholding their right to stay while their applications are processed, the court said in June.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a vocal proponent of an alleged plot to supplant white Europeans with non-white immigrants, is frequently at loggerheads with Brussels over migration and refugee policy. Hungary also opposes the bloc´s recent overhaul of its laws on handling asylum-seekers and migrants.