May 11, 2017

Hungary says EU directive on immigration goes against Geneva Convention

The Geneva Convention expressly prohibits asylum seekers who are granted asylum in a certain country from being resettled to another country

Hungary has gone into its first open battle with Brussels over the migrant crisis during a hearing at the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The Hungarian government will argue against the mechanism aimed at distributing asylum seekers stating that according to the treaty signed with the EU, the community does not have the right to decide on entry or on changing a country’s makeup, population and culture.

Government sources claim that such decisions are contrary to several EU principles and also to the Geneva Convention. The Geneva Convention expressly prohibits asylum seekers who are granted asylum in a certain country from being resettled to another country. The opinion of national parliaments had not been consulted prior to the EU decision, Hungary stated.

Government insiders claim that judges were open to discussion during Wednesday's quota lawsuit hearing, and sought to understand the Hungarian position, and it is quite evident that they have dealt with the case in depth.

Poland intervened in the lawsuit on the side of Hungary and Slovakia, while the Council decision was supported by the European Commission, Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg.

French Advocate General Yves Bot announced that the court will publish its position on the case on July 26, and the verdict will be delivered thereafter. The Advocate General’s motion is not binding on the judges. At the same time, experiences show that judgments tend to coincide with the preliminary positions.

Hungary will also veto a development concept paper the European Union is preparing to adopt, as it highlights migration as having favorable effects on Europe’s future, Hungary’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.

“The EU is preparing to adopt a development strategy that cites immigration as a positive, and accordingly Hungary will be vetoing the adoption of the document," Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.

“EU foreign ministers will be holding a meeting in Brussels on Thursday, and on the agenda of that meeting will be a document called the European Consensus on Development. The text of this document includes the fact that “well-managed migration and mobility” could contribute positively to growth and sustainable development, and it is mandatory to make use of this favourable contribution," the minister added.

Hungary announced its veto of the document on Wednesday morning which “sparked outrage,” Szijjártó said, adding that the EU committee of permanent representatives had to be suspended in the morning over the move.

Hungary has been repeatedly asked by Brussels, even “pressured” by some member states, to drop its veto, Szijjártó said, adding however that the decision would not be reversed.

“The decision on the veto — which was also discussed at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting — is clear, Hungary will uphold it,” Szijjarto said, insisting that the government would reject a development strategy that calls on member states to support migration.

Migration has recently posed a lot of risks to Europe, it has compromised security on the continent, Szijjártó said, adding that for this reason Hungary could not support the EU document.

He said that he will represent Hungary at the meeting of ministers on Thursday in Brussels.