EU court fines Hungary €200m for non-compliance with asylum laws

The European Union’s top court has imposed a significant fine on Hungary, amounting to €200 million ($216 million), along with a daily penalty of €1 million, for its continued failure to adhere to the bloc’s asylum regulations and its illegal deportation of migrants.

This decision comes after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) found that Hungary has been deliberately evading compliance with EU laws, despite a 2020 ruling that mandated the country to uphold international asylum procedures.

In its statement, the ECJ emphasized the severity of Hungary’s actions, describing them as an “unprecedented and exceptionally serious breach of EU law.” Consequently, Hungary is required to pay the lump sum fine and an ongoing daily penalty until it aligns with EU regulations.

The ruling highlights the persistent defiance of Hungary’s government, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his far-right Fidesz party. Orban’s administration has been adamant in its opposition to allowing asylum seekers into the country, despite EU and international mandates that require individual assessment of protection requests. The recent EU elections saw Fidesz secure the top spot in Hungary, although with a reduced 47.4 percent of the vote.

Hungary’s policies have notably restricted migrants’ access to formally applying for asylum and have not respected their right to remain in the country while their applications are processed. This ongoing non-compliance prompted the European Commission to seek financial penalties against Hungary, arguing that such actions undermine the principles of solidarity and fair responsibility sharing among EU member states.

Looking ahead, EU member countries are required to present national plans by December on implementing new asylum rules set to take effect in 2026.

These rules aim to strengthen the bloc’s borders against irregular migration, expedite vetting procedures, and accelerate deportations for those deemed ineligible for asylum. Additionally, the rules mandate that EU countries support “frontline” states, such as Italy and Greece, by either accepting a share of asylum-seekers or providing financial and other resources.

Hungary has strongly opposed these new regulations, particularly the requirement to assist frontline states, arguing that its stringent measures are necessary to protect the European Union. The ECJ’s recent ruling underscores the ongoing tension between Hungary and the EU over migration policies and the broader implications for solidarity within the union.

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