A view of EU flags next to the European Commission in Brussels | Photo: EPA/JULIEN WARNAND
A view of EU flags next to the European Commission in Brussels | Photo: EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

The European Commission has begun an infringement procedure against Hungary for its law on NGOs commonly known as 'Stop Soros', which bans foreign-funded organizations from providing assistance to migrants.

A clash continues between the European Commission and Hungary over respect for rule of law and migration management.

Brussels on Thursday (February 18) started a new infringement procedure against the national law on NGOs known as 'Stop Soros', which bans foreign-funded NGOs if they work to better migration conditions. Under the current law, these NGOs are considered a risk to national security.

NGO law violates EU regulations

In a formal letter of notice -- the first step in the EU infringement procedure -- the Commission noted that Budapest had not complied with a sentence handed down by the European Court of Justice in June 2020, according to which the law on NGOs violates EU regulations because it goes against the free circulation of capital, freedom of association, and protection of personal data.

If the government under Prime Minister Viktor Orban does not provide a thorough explanation by April 18, the European Commission could ask the court to hand down pecuniary sanctions on the country, an EU spokesperson said.

Another infringement procedure

In another case, the EU decided to advance a second infringement procedure, which was first opened in October, by sending a motivated opinion (second stage of the procedure) to Hungary on its national legislation on asylum rights passed during the pandemic.

The EU holds that this legislation illegally restricts access to asylum procedures, since it precludes non-EU citizens inside of Hungarian territory, including the border, from filing requests for international protection. Budapest has two months to respond or the case may end up in front of the EU court.


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