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EU Court Urged to Rule Against Hungary 02/25 06:15

   

   BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) -- The advocate general for European Union's highest 
court on Thursday urged the court to rule that Hungary violated the bloc's laws 
on asylum when it passed legislation narrowing the possibilities for 
asylum-seekers to receive international protection.

   The non-binding opinion from the European Court of Justice's Advocate 
General, Athanasios Rantos, states that the 2018 amendments to Hungary's asylum 
laws --- which prohibited asylum-seekers who passed through safe countries en 
route to Hungary from receiving international protection --- violated EU law.

   "By introducing that ground for inadmissibility, Hungary has failed to 
fulfill its obligations under the Procedures Directive," Rantos wrote, 
referring to the EU's asylum protocols.

   Opinions by advocates general are often but not always followed by the 
European Court of Justice, which will make a final ruling on the case at a 
later date.

   The European Commission, the bloc's executive branch, brought the case 
before the court as part of an infringement procedure it launched against 
Hungary in 2018 over its non-compliance with asylum law.

   Rantos also advised the court to rule that a Hungarian law that cracks down 
on organizations and individuals that provide legal assistance to 
asylum-seekers violates EU law. The legislation, known as the "Stop Soros" law, 
was an amendment to Hungary's criminal code that threatened aid workers and 
human rights advocates working with asylum-seekers with up to a year in prison. 
It was approved by the Hungarian parliament in 2018.

   The law was named after Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros, a 
pro-democracy advocate who has long been a target of the Hungarian government.

   Hungary's right-wing government has been a staunch opponent of immigration, 
and its treatment of migrants have brought it into frequent conflict with the 
rest of the 27-nation EU. Last year, the country closed its transit zones --- 
enclosed areas along the southern border with Serbia used to hold 
asylum-seekers while their asylum requests were being decided --- after the 
European court ruled they amounted to detention and thus violated EU law.

   Last month, the EU's border control agency, Frontex, suspended operations in 
Hungary after the government in Budapest did not comply with a December ruling 
by the European court that ordered Hungary to grant protection to 
asylum-seekers as required by law and to stop returning them to Serbia.

   The country's prime minister, Viktor Orban, claims he is seeking to protect 
Hungary's conservative Christian identity and to defend Europe from immigration 
from the Mideast and Africa.

 
 
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