It is no coincidence that the EU’s top court ruled on a Hungarian case the same day as a European Parliament debate on Hungary’s rule of law, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Friday.
The Court of Justice of the EU on Thursday ruled that holding asylum seekers in the Röszke transit zone at the Serbian-Hungarian border must be classified as “detention” and that people cannot spend more than four weeks in the transit zone. The ruling — made in response to a referral from Hungarian judges — said Hungary’s system of keeping some asylum-seekers in the transit zone for over a year is unlawful, and that those detained have the right to pursue individual legal cases.
Speaking on state-owned Kossuth Rádió, Orbán said the ruling was part of a “coordinated assault” from the EU, and said the issue that drives the thinking of European leaders continues to be migration.
On Thursday, members of the European Parliament held a debate on Hungary’s coronavirus emergency measures, with many MEPs raising concerns about the state of the rule of law and calling for sanctions against the country’s government.
Brussels bureaucrats want to force EU members to take in migrants “against their will,” Orbán said.
The prime minister also questioned the legitimacy of the Court of Justice’s ruling.
“It is completely evident that if the European court makes a decision that conflicts with the Hungarian constitution — and now this situation is unfolding before our eyes — then obviously the Hungarian constitution needs to be given primacy,” he said.
A German Constitutional Court ruling earlier this month on a European Central Bank bond-buying program was seen as posing a challenge to the supremacy of EU over national law — and has raised questions over whether Hungary will continue to comply with the top court’s judgments.
When it comes to the asylum case, it is now up to the Szeged Regional Court to implement the Luxembourg court’s decision.
“We trust the Hungarian authorities will fully implement the CJEU ruling without delay and take all necessary measures concerning those unlawfully detained in the transit zones. If this is not done, we will make sure that courts compel them to do so,” said Barbara Pohárnok, an attorney at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee who represents the asylum-seekers who brought the case to court.