As Hungary faces an international outcry over its latest anti-LGBT+ crackdown, the European Commission has initiated another infringement procedure against the country for failing to implement a Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling on procedures for granting international protection and return. Further, the Committee of Ministers adopted a decision requesting Hungary to fully  implement the judgment in Ilias and Ahmed v Hungary from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

In its latest attack on human rights for minority groups a majority in the Hungarian Parliament cast their votes in favor of banning the depiction or promotion of homosexuality to people under 18. “The provisions banning the ‘promotion or display of homosexuality’ fit into the trend of hate-mongering policies this governing majority has adopted over the past years against various social groups. Writing into law that being gay poses a risk in itself to people under 18 will have tragic effects on the mental wellbeing of young LGBT+ people”, said Senior advocacy officer for ECRE member the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), András Léderer.

The Hungarian government under prime minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party has faced numerous infringement procedures related to its asylum policies since 2015 and amid the international outcry over LGBT+ rights it is now facing yet another. The European Commission recently sent two letters of formal notice and a reasoned opinion to Hungary in relation to its national asylum procedure. The first letter relates to the failure to comply with the ruling in case C- 808/18, 17 December 2020, where CJEU held that Hungary had failed to fulfil its procedural obligations under EU law in relation to granting international protection and returning non-EU nationals who do not have the right to remain in the EU. The Commission has subsequently decided to send a letter of formal notice urging Hungary to take and implement all required measures to remedy the situation since the ruling. The infringement procedure, based on Article 260(2) TFEU, means that Hungary has two months to reply to the concerns raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission can refer the matter to the CJEU with the proposal of financial sanctions. In addition, the Commission decided to send a reasoned opinion accompanied by a letter of formal notice, to Hungary for failing to fully transpose the recast Asylum Procedures Directive (2013/32/EU). The reasoned opinion follows a letter of formal notice previously sent by the Commission in September 2015 and covers provisions on the personal interview, the medical screening and guarantees for unaccompanied children and teenagers. This most recent letter of notice covers additional provisions on the asylum examination procedure which had to be transposed at a later stage. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the CJEU.

On 7-9 June, the Committee of Ministers adopted a decision on the implementation of the judgment in Ilias and Ahmed v Hungary from the ECHR. As regards individual measures, the Committee noted that the applicants live in Germany and Spain, respectively and have no desire to return to Hungary leaving the timely payment of the awarded satisfaction as the only outstanding issue. In terms of general measures, the Committee requested a reassessment of the legislative presumption of Serbia as a “safe third country” and to present the grounds and the outcome of that reassessment. It also requested the authorities to demonstrate, that the risk of denial of access to an effective asylum procedure and the risk of refoulement from Serbia are now thoroughly examined by the asylum authority and the national courts. The Committee noted that forced returns to Serbia have intensified over the last few years, calling on Hungary to ensure that forced returns are framed by orderly procedures and safeguards concerning every person’s right to seek asylum as established by international law. The Committee further requested concrete information from the authorities on the measures envisaged to prevent the reoccurrence of violations, including on the reform of the asylum system. Lastly, it invited the authorities to submit an updated comprehensive action plan/report by the end of September 2021 and the Committee decided to examine the case in December 2021.

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Photo: (CC) jemufo, April 2010

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.