Center for Fundamental Rights

Asylum law: the Hungarian regulation could be expanded

The Center for Fundamental Rights examined the EU and Hungarian regulations pertaining to refugee law. Based on the analysis, the Center has drawn the conclusion that, in order to have more efficient asylum procedures, the Hungarian legislator could amend the applicable national regulations – while maintaining compliance with the relevant European regulatory framework. That is, the applicable EU directives entitle the Member States to issue a “list of safe countries of origin” and to introduce and launch “accelerated procedures” in certain cases. These alternatives have not yet been applied by the Hungarian legislation to date. According to the Center for Fundamental Rights, the Parliament could also expand regulations on “asylum detention”. In the context of both the accelerated procedure and of the asylum detention, it is notable that certain definitions of EU directives, such as „public order”, „public and national safety” and „public health” have neither been adopted nor properly specified in the effective Hungarian laws on asylum – although a more accurate and elaborated regulation of these categories could render the procedures more effective. This would involve that unfounded asylum requests could be rejected in a more timely fashion. In connection with the above, the potential increase in the number of cases to be processed might justify expanding the personnel and physical infrastructure of the Office of Immigration and Nationality. In this respect, lawmakers should observe the relevant UN agreements, with special regard to the concept of “non-refoulement” (ensuring that nobody is sent back to persecution).

EU laws authorize the Member States to prepare a list of safe countries of origin – but Hungary has failed so far to transpose this piece of EU law. By preparing such a list, a transparent system of conditions could be drawn up for the purpose of specifying the countries from where asylum seekers are not accepted. Similarly, the Hungarian legislator has not yet adopted the rules on accelerated procedures (provided for by the new EU directives), which could be applied e.g. in the case of refugees endangering national security and public order, or in the case of refugees from safe countries of origin. Moreover, while Hungarian regulations do contain in line with the EU law such cases where asylum detention can be ordered, based on the practice of the Court of Justice of the European Union, it cannot be ruled out that such cases may be expanded with further ones. Moreover, the Member States have the right to define the grounds for detention in the national law.