The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against Hungary over its recently passed “Stop Soros” package of laws.
EC spokesperson Mina Andreeva told a press briefing on Thursday that the commission has sent the Hungarian government a letter of formal notice concerning the “Stop Soros” laws and related constitutional amendments. The EC gave the Hungarian authorities two months to respond to its concerns.
The Hungarian parliament passed the contested laws in June, aimed at penalizing the “promotion or organization of illegal migration”.
The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe earlier criticised some passages in the new legislation, arguing that they would seriously hinder the operation of legitimate civil groups.
Also on Thursday, the EC said it will take Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union over the country’s asylum law, initiating the third phase of the ongoing infringement procedure against Hungary over the law. The infringement procedure was launched in December 2015.
Ruling Fidesz said in reaction that the latest infringement procedure confirmed that Brussels supported migration and “is protecting the Soros organizations.”
“The Stop Soros law and the constitutional amendment prohibiting the settlement of migrants in Hungary stand in their way, this is why they launched the procedure,” the party said in a statement.
“As long as the Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance is in government, Stop Soros and the constitutional amendment will remain intact, because the Hungarian people have made it clear that they do not want Hungary to be made into a country of immigrants,” they added.
The strongest opposition party Jobbik – who voted in favor of the “Stop Soros” package and the constitutional amendment too – called the procedure “unacceptable” and said that Hungary had not enacted any measures incompatible with its duty to protect the European Union’s external borders. Jobbik added, at the same time, that the “Stop Soros” law alone would not be enough to curb migration. Migration can only be combatted by enacting strict measures at a national level, Jobbik said, adding that this was why they have proposed the establishment of an independent border guard. Jobbik lawmaker Tibor Bana added that corruption is jeopardizing the country’s future, so Hungary should join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.