Posted on June 14, 2024

EU’s Top Court Hits Hungary With Massive €200 Million Fine for Blocking Migrants

John Cody, Remix, June 13, 2024

The EU’s top court, the European Court of Justice, has hit Hungary with a massive fine for refusing to comply with a 2020 ruling that the country was blocking migrants at its border using illegal policies.

The ruling has sparked a strong reaction from the Hungarian government, with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán writing on X that the “ECJ’s decision to fine Hungary with 200M euros plus 1m euros daily for defending the borders of the European Union is outrageous and unacceptable. It seems that illegal migrants are more important to the Brussels bureaucrats than their own European citizens.”

The European Court of Justice published the decision on X, noting it referred to Hungary’s “failure to comply with the Court of Justice’s judgment of 17 December 2020.”

The court had initially ruled in 2020 that Hungary had illegally detained and blocked migrants from entering its territory and then illegally held asylum seekers at the Röszke transit zone on Serbian territory, thereby allowing them to be deported before they could appeal their asylum application rejection. The court ordered Hungarian authorities to reconsider the practice of detaining such migrants.

The top court has now ruled that Hungary has ignored this judgment. The ruling comes at a time when not only Hungarians reject mass immigration, but polling across Europe shows the vast majority of Europeans want an end to mass immigration and immigration from non-European countries. In fact, a new poll found that 7 out of 10 Europeans believe their country takes in too many migrants, while only 39 percent of respondents say Europe “needs immigration today.”

Original case backed by Soros NGO

In 2020, the government of Hungary maintained that it cannot be considered detention when the migrants are not allowed to enter Hungary but are still permitted to turn around and return via the route they came. A previous decision on the same case, handed down by the European Court of Human Rights, also found that the procedure did not constitute detention.

As Remix News previously reported, the case came about due to the backing of an NGO funded by billionaire oligarch George Soros.

The ECJ case was originally filed by two Iranian and two Afghani nationals stuck in the Röszke transit zone on Hungary’s southern border with Serbia. They entered the transit zone seeking asylum in Hungary, but the Hungarian authorities refused to process their case, arguing that they came from Serbia, a country deemed to be safe.

Represented by a Soros-funded NGO, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, they filed their case with the Szeged district public administration and labor court, which in turn forwarded it to the ECJ.

The Hungarian government maintained that migrants could not apply for asylum on Hungarian territory, but intead must apply for asylum at a Hungarian embassy in neighboring countries, such as Belgrade in Serbia.

Hungary contended that asylum applicants have no right to enter Hungary, as they cross several safe countries on their way to Hungary.

“Hungary is surrounded by safe countries,” said the Hungarian government’s international spokesman Zoltán Kovács in 2020. “The Geneva Conventions stipulate refugees must apply for asylum in the first safe country. Nothing guarantees the right to choose where to apply while breaking the law as an illegal migrant to boot.”