A conviction against Hungary was handed down by the European Court of Justice, ruling that her government violated the right of refugees and migrants to claim asylum in Europe.
The Commission has brought Hungary before the European Court of Justice over the controversial law enacted by the government of nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban in 2015, at the height of the refugee flow from the Balkans. Hungarian authorities created two “tranzit zones” on the border with Serbia, where they detained asylum seekers, turning them from refugees into prisoners. In May, the European Court of Justice had demanded that hungarian authorities release the refugees and the government was forced to dismantle the two zones.
In yesterday’s ruling, the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice stresses that no member country is entitled to deprive refugees in need of international protection of the right to seek asylum. Hungarian Justice Minister Judith Varga described the decision as “irrelevant” because the transzit zones have already been abolished, but added that her government would insist on strict border control.
Another conviction for Hungary’s ruling party, Fidés, came from Brussels. The European People’s Party (EPP), which is rallying the continent’s conservative parties, imposed sanctions on the head of Fives in the European Parliament, Tomas Doic, who had likened the position of Germany’s Manfred Weber, the head of the EPP, to the Gestapo and Stasi. A group of some forty EPP MEPs, led by Austrian Omar Karas, had proposed deleting Doic from the Centre-Right Parliamentary Group in the European Parliament, but the more moderate solution of public disapproval and sanctioning prevailed by suspending his specific rights.
Meanwhile, around 250 German MPs have made a “Christmas appeal” to the federal government to accept the settlement and accommodation of refugees from the Greek islands, in numbers that exceed the quotas provided for in european agreements. In addition, the German Government is invited to recommend that the other member countries of the European Union move in the same direction, hosting more refugees from Greek islands.
The call refers to “disastrous conditions, in terms of hygiene and supplies” in some camps, while special mention is made to Kara Tepe, who is described as worse than the previous Moria camp. The appeal is mainly signed by Members from the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left, but also several Christian Democrats and Liberals. Since last April, Germany has accepted about 1,500 refugees from Greece, with the last 88 arriving in the country yesterday.
At the same time, however, the German refugee organisation Flüchtlingsrat complained that the Berlin Government had resumed deportations of Afghan migrants to their country of origin, especially at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is on the rise. Several german non-governmental organisations have cauterly called for the resumption of the repatriations of migrants to Afghanistan, which had been “frozen” since last March.