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‘State of Migration Emergency’ under fire

March 12th, 2016

Mandiner doubts whether the declaration of a special state of emergency in view of a potential wave of irregular migrants is legally justified. Magyar Idők quotes experts who believe that it will eventually prove useful.

On Mandiner, Bence Pintér finds that an emergency declared on a purely pre-emptive basis is not in conformity with the law adopted on the issue last year. Pintér admits that the government might know something the public does not, and that it is entitled to reinforce the borders. He does not really care either even if Fidesz is trying to use the state of emergency for political purposes. However, Mandiner’s pundit finds the announcement an overreach even of the law that was enacted by this same parliamentary majority.

On Wednesday, Hungary declared a nationwide ‘state of migration emergency’ for the entire country. This type of emergency (not to be mistaken with a ‘traditional’ state of emergency or the ’emergency state of terror’, defined in a bill Fidesz was seeking to pass in Parliament earlier this year see BudaPost January 25th, 2016), was adopted into law in 2015 during the migrant crisis. It allows, among other things, for a more extensive use of police and military forces, which includes searching for illegal migrants throughout the country and, in certain cases, entering private homes. This time, as Interior Minister Sándor Pintér who announced the decision, told the press on Wednesday, it entails deploying police officers and 1,500 soldiers to the border. The official justification for the emergency is to take measures that are necessary to protect the country from the unknown consequences arising from the closure of the Western Balkan route to migrants. State Secretary at the Prime Ministers Office Nándor Csepreghy stated on ATV on Thursday that the decision was taken on the basis of undisclosed intelligence information. 

Magyar Idők, on the other hand, quotes experts who find the newly announced measures timely and necessary. An analysis by the Alapjogokért (For Basic Rights) think tank deems it fully plausible that the migrants blocked in Greece will find new routes to get to Central Europe and that Hungary’s borders may well be assailed by masses of new arrivals. The analysts quote the law as allowing for the special ‘State of migration emergency’ to be introduced whenever ‘migration related events represent a threat to public safety” and concludes that the measures taken by the government are legally justified.

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