EU court fines Hungary for non-compliance with asylum laws

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) fined Hungary 200 million euros and imposed a daily one-million-euro penalty for failing to follow EU's asylum laws and illegally deporting migrants. The verdict adds to the already worsening tensions between the Eastern European country and Brussels. 

In 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had unlawfully limited asylum procedures and detained applicants in transit zones. The ruling called upon the country to comply with the EU asylum laws, but Hungary failed to take action. The European Commission therefore launched new legal action, which resulted in a new ruling by the CJEU on Thursday: a 200 million euro fine plus an extra one million euros per day if the country continues to fail to apply the EU’s asylum policies.

In its verdict, the European Court of Justice said Hungary had failed to take measures "to comply with the 2020 judgement as regards the right of applicants for international protection to remain in Hungary pending a final decision on their appeal against the rejection of their application and the removal of illegally staying third-country nationals". The failure to fulfil obligations, the Court said, constitutes an unprecedented and exceptionally serious breach of EU law.

Under current legislation, migrants can only submit requests for asylum outside Hungary's borders, at its embassies in neighbouring Serbia or Ukraine. Illegal border crossers are commonly pushed back by the Hungarian authorities. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has maintained that the country will continue to carry out its existing regime regarding asylum seekers even if the Court orders it to change it.

It is the first time an EU member state has been fined for non-compliance with an asylum law judgement. Meanwhile, already more than ten billion euros of EU funding for Hungary remains suspended given concerns in a number of areas, including child protection, academic freedom and the right to asylum. With the ruling, that amount will thus continue to soar.


Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban and President of France Emmanuel Macron talk during the European council summit © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK


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