bne IntelliNews -
Hungary has unilaterally suspended the application of a key EU asylum rule, because it is overburdened by illegal migrants, the interior ministry announced on June 23.
Budapest said it will temporarily refuse to take back asylum seekers who registered in the country but moved elsewhere in Europe before their requests were resolved. According to the EU's Dublin regulation, refugees can be sent back to the country where they first requested asylum.
The Hungarian interior ministry cited "technical reasons" for the suspension. It also claimed Hungary has "exhausted its capacities", and that the country is the EU member state most heavily burdened by illegal immigration.
"Hungary is taking a share in the management of the situation caused by illegal migration beyond its means," the statement reads.
Hungary received more asylum-seekers per capita than any other EU country apart from Sweden in 2014. The total number of applications made in the country rose to nearly 43,000, compared with just 2,000 in 2012. So far this year, 60,000 migrants have entered Hungary, most of them through Serbia, according to government figures.
"Hungary has exhausted the resources at its disposal," the interior ministry says. "The situation calls for prompt action, and in the escalated situation which has recently evolved Hungary must take measures before the European Union adopts its decisions on the matter."
It adds that it has asked EU peers to cancel any planned transfers of asylum seekers, and refrain from organising new transfers for the time being.
However, the European Commission demanded Hungary explain its action immediately.
"As the Dublin rules do not foresee the suspension of transfers by the receiving member states, the Commission has asked Hungary for immediate clarification on the nature and extent of the technical failure, and on the measures taken to remedy the situation," a Commission spokeswoman said, according to Reuters.
Budapest’s move comes just days before an EU summit where leaders are due to debate a new scheme to redistribute asylum seekers from Greece and Italy. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who recently called migration a threat to "European civilisation", has firmly stated his opposition to the EU proposal for migrant quotas describing it as "bordering on insanity".
The premier has been moving rapidly to the right, as he sees support for his Fidesz party slipping, while the nationalist Jobbik party gains in polls. In order to stop the flow of illegal migrants, Budapest announced last week that it has decided to build a fence along its southern border with Serbia. The plan drew sharp criticism from Brussels and Belgrade, amongst others.
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