Monday

18th Dec 2017

Sweden threatens to sue Hungary over asylum refusals

  • Sweden's justice minister Morgan Johansson. (Photo: Socialdemokraterna)

Sweden's minister of justice Morgan Johansson said Sweden will challenge Hungary in court unless it starts taking back asylum seekers from other EU countries.

The European Commission is sending a fact-finding delegation to Hungary to examine reasons for the row.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Earlier this month, ministers from the Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, in addition to Sweden - wrote to the EU executive to complain that Hungary is not abiding by EU Dublin rules, which say refugees should in principle seek asylum in the first EU country they enter.

Johansson was one of the co-signatories of the letter.

He told Swedish radio that EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos replied this week, saying Hungary must comply with the regulation and should examine asylum claims of those people who were first registered there and later travelled on to other countries.

”The commission is the guardian of the EU treaties. It has to ensure that governments stick to agreements they once signed up to,” Johansson said.

Otherwise, Sweden would take Hungary to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), he added.

More than 1 million people came to Europe last year. Many were first registered in Hungary.

The Swedish Migration Agency says it has around a thousand asylum seekers who were first registered in Hungary waiting to be transferred back.

But Hungary claims the refugees first entered the EU through Greece, making Greece responsible for examining their claims.

Government’s spokesman Zoltan Kovacs recently told reporters in Brussels that Hungary would refuse to accept returns of asylum seekers from other EU states.

"We are not going to take responsibility for the shortcomings of other countries," he said.

The Dublin regulation says an EU country has six months to transfer a person to another EU state, if it finds that country to be responsible for an asylum claim.

But if the transfer is not made within that timeframe, it becomes responsible itself for the asylum seeker. 

The Nordic countries are not the only ones to accuse Hungary of not complying with the Dublin regulation.

Austria threatened to take Budapest to court already earlier this month for its refusal to take back asylum seekers. Slovakia said in July it stopped trying to send back people, because efforts to do so were in vain.

Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June

Divisions on relocating asylum seekers remain entrenched following an EU summit. The east-west divide opens up the possibility of relying on a majority vote for a key asylum in June, further exacerbating disputes among opposing capitals.

EU asylum debate reopens old wounds

EU leaders discussed asylum reforms in an effort to reach a consensus by next June, but divisions remain wide as concept of 'solidarity' becomes ever more elusive.

Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June

Divisions on relocating asylum seekers remain entrenched following an EU summit. The east-west divide opens up the possibility of relying on a majority vote for a key asylum in June, further exacerbating disputes among opposing capitals.

News in Brief

  1. EU-UK Brexit trade deal by January 2021, official says
  2. Bitcoin is 'deadly', Danish central bank warns
  3. EU Commission wants to ban 'legal weed'
  4. France files €10m complaint against Amazon
  5. EU negotiators reach deal on 'circular economy'
  6. Poll: Tight race in Catalonia days before elections
  7. EU: Israel built 8,000 settler homes in six months
  8. China agrees to promote London as centre for yuan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  2. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  3. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  4. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  5. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  6. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  7. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  10. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  11. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  12. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?