Hungary’s treatment of asylum seekers entering the country violates EU law, an advocate general of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) said in an opinion issued on Thursday.
The European Commission had taken legal action against Hungary in 2018, saying that Budapest had unlawfully detained asylum seekers in so-called transit zones and had also unlawfully removed foreign citizens illegally living in the country.
CJEU Advocate General Priit Pikamäe said that the court should “essentially uphold the Commission’s action” as Hungary’s treatment of asylum seekers prevented them from “making their [asylum] application effectively” — therefore depriving them of their right under EU law “to have effective access to the procedure for granting international protection.”
Pikamäe added that forcing asylum seekers to wait in transit zones for between 11 and 18 months before they can submit their asylum applications — as Hungary has done — was at odds with EU rules, which state that applicants for international protection cannot be accommodated in transit zones for more than four weeks.
Advocate general’s opinions are nonbinding but the CJEU frequently follows their advice.
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