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28th Jan 2022

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Frontex suspends operations in Hungary

The EU's border agency, Frontex, is suspending operations in Hungary.

"The head of Frontex has already made up his mind and will suspend all activities in Hungary," an EU official told EUobserver on Wednesday (27 January).

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A spokesperson from the Warsaw-based agency said Frontex is "still evaluating" its role in Hungary. Post-publication of this article, the spokesperson confirmed, noting that "Frontex is suspending its activities in Hungary."

The move comes after Hungary has continued to push back migrants into Serbia - in violation of a European Court of Justice ruling in December.

Those violations are being carefully documented by the Budapest-based NGO, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

In a tweet, it said Hungary had pushed back over 4,400 people since the December ruling by the EU's top court.

Given the violations, the NGO had demanded Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri to withdraw its border forces from Hungary.

"By continuing to participate in border surveillance and border protection activities, Frontex risks being complicit," it said, in a letter.

The European Commission earlier this month, in a letter to Hungary, demanded responses from the government in Budapest.

"We haven't yet received a reply," said a European Commission spokesperson, earlier this week.

EUobserver understands that the Commission had also asked Frontex's management board, alongside with other members, to pull out of Hungary.

For its part, the Hungarian government had previously said that it needed to continue to carry out the expulsions due to Covid-related health risks.

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