The European Commission has ratcheted up its infringement procedures against Hungary over the country’s asylum legislation, which the stridently anti-democratic government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has dubbed the “Stop Soros” campaign.
Orban’s government will now be under pressure to rescind certain laws that target illegal migrants – whom the Hungarian government claim are the creation of a vast international conspiracy headed by the Hungarian-born pro-democracy philanthropist George Soros.
The so-called“Stop Soros” laws enacted by the Orban government have considerably restricted the right of asylum for non-Europeans and transformed into a criminal offence all activities supporting migrants, focusing mostly on the dozens of international NGOs that have been active in the Eastern European county since the fall of Communism in 1989.
The Commission first expressed their concerns to the Hungarian government in July of last year, but after more than six months without a change in policy, Brussels opted to move to the second stage of the process which formally requests that the government in Budapest comply with the EU’s laws.
“The European Commission has decided today to address a reasoned opinion to Hungary concerning the legislation which establishes, as a criminal offence, activities related to applying for asylum and residence and further restricts the right to legally remain in the country,” the EU said in a statement.
If the Hungarian Government fails to respond to this request, the European Commission could decide to refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the last step of this infringement procedure.
The European Parliament has also started a procedure to sanction Hungary for violating certain fundamental values of the European Union.