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Hungary suspends asylum transfers – then retracts the decision

June 25th, 2015

In the first reactions to the Hungarian government’s decision to halt the return of asylum seekers under the Dublin Agreement, a liberal lawyer accuses Hungary of violating its international obligations. A conservative blogger, on the other hand, thinks that Schengen border countries must put up a tough fight in order to change what they regard as an unfair EU migration system.

On Tuesday, the Hungarian government temporarily halted the transfer of asylum seekers from other EU member states under the Dublin Agreement. The government announced that Hungary’s  asylum system cannot accommodate any more refugees, and thus the country cannot readmit asylum seekers that entered the Schengen zone in Hungary, who after submitting their applications for refugee status left for Western Europe. According to government spokesman Zoltán Kovács, the Hungarian authorities cannot take care of returned asylum seekers while registering the new 600 to 800 illegal migrants who cross Hungary’s southern border daily. In the first six months of the year, more than 60,000 undocumented migrants entered Hungary, the highest number in the EU. Some EU member states including Germany have recently announced that they would send back illegal migrants to Hungary (see BudaPost June 10). As of now, only a few asylum seekers have actually been transferred back, but in the government’s estimate, as many as 200,000 refugees can potentially be returned from EU member states under the Dublin Agreement.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó told the press on Wednesday that Hungary has not suspended the application of the Dublin Agreement, it simply cannot accommodate any new migrants since all its shelters are full.

The suspension of the Dublin Agreement is a clear violation of international law, Index.hu cites international lawyer Boldizsár Nagy. Nagy suspects that the decision will have huge repercussions and will further weaken Hungary’s standing in the EU. If other countries  follow Hungary and renege on their international duties, the EU will fall apart, Nagy contends. Index.hu nonetheless adds that the EU migration system is unjust, since it puts all the responsibility to take care for EU migrants on the shoulders of Schengen border countries.

Gábor Tímár on the Kard blog site believes that what threatens to break up the EU is not the suspension of the unfair Dublin rules, but rather the core EU members’ ignorance of migration related problems in Schengen border countries. The conservative blogger calls it utterly unjust that Schengen border countries should bear all responsibility in relation to illegal migrants to the EU. He adds that under the current system, the easiest approach for Schengen border states would be to simply close their eyes to illegal migrants, and let them travel without registration to Western Europe. The Hungarian government’s decision to suspend the re-admission of asylum seekers from Western Europe is intended to force core EU states to reconsider their stance on migration, Tímár remarks. As for its internal political implications, Tímár thinks that the suspension of the Dublin Agreement is likely to further increase the popularity of Fidesz.

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