The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled on 14 May 2020 that Hungary’s practice of automatically placing the quasi-totality of asylum-seekers in closed land-border transit zones during the entire asylum procedure constitutes unlawful detention. As a reaction, the Hungarian government announced the introduction of a new asylum system. At the core of the new system is a compulsory precondition for those seeking asylum in Hungary to first submit a “statement of intent” at the Hungarian embassy in Belgrade or Kyiv. Depending on the approval of the “statement of intent”, the would-be asylum-seeker is issued with a special travel permit allowing him or her to travel to Hungary and submit an asylum application there. This system is in breach of the Hungarian Fundamental Law, the EU asylum acquis, the 1951 Refugee Convention, as well as the European Convention on Human Rights and its Fourth Protocol.
By restricting access to territory and the asylum procedure in a way that is incompatible with EU law, and by exclusively designating specific places for lodging a “statement of intent” as a compulsory precondition for submitting an asylum application, Hungary de facto removes itself from the Common European Asylum System (CEAS).
Our Information Update explaining the new asylum system and the various ways it breaches Hungary’s international obligations includes recommendations for actions the European Commission should take.
An update describing Hungary’s dysfunctional embassy system in theory and practice can be found here.