Zero tolerance for Orbán’s asylum policies

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Socialists and Democrats welcome today’s decision taken by the European Commission to launch an infringement procedure against Hungary concerning its “Stop Soros” package of laws. The legislation that the Hungarian parliament adopted in June is designed to crack down on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) by criminalising them for providing help to illegal immigrants.
 
We also welcome the European Commission’s decision to refer Hungary to the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) for non-compliance of its asylum and return legislation with EU law.
 
S&D Group president Udo Bullmann said:
 
“It is just unbelievable that in the heart of the European Union we have a country where people can go to jail for offering help to migrants. The purpose of this law is to intimidate workers of NGOs who do a great job, providing humanitarian aid to vulnerable people seeking asylum. This is not only against EU asylum rules but also against everything that we recognise as the rule of law, basic human rights and European values. The EPP, pretending to be a pro-European group and claiming to refer to Christian values, should decide whether a politician like Orbán is still tolerable for them.
 
“I also applaud the second decision taken today by the European Commission regarding Hungary. By referring the country to the EU Court of Justice for breaching EU asylum laws, the Commission confirmed that Budapest holds migrants too long in transit centres and fails to give them proper access to asylum procedures. This is the second time, after Hungary was taken to the Court of Justice for not following the European Council decision requiring member states to implement emergency relocation quotas in September 2015. Such practices or laws like the ‘Stop Soros’ package should have no place in Europe. We have to do everything we can to defend Europe as a free, democratic and open society. In Hungary, Poland and everywhere this is needed. If we do not react, we will allow the illiberal drift to continue.
 
“Victor Orbán has been eroding the foundations of democracy in his country for seven years, and attacking the fundamental freedoms of Hungarian citizens. That is why the S&Ds voted in favour of the report calling for the activation of the Article 7 procedure. It is not against Hungary or Hungarians but against the Hungarian government. We have to make sure that the rights of Hungarians to live in a free, open and democratic society are protected.
 
Note to editors: The Parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee adopted in June a report on the situation in Hungary that calls for launching the EU's Article 7 procedure against the Hungarian government for consistent and systematic attacks on the rule of law. This could lead to the eventual suspension of voting rights in the Council and the European Council. The entire Parliament will vote on this report in September’s plenary session in Strasbourg.