Hungary threatens EU over ‘insane’ migrant fine – media

The bloc’s top court has imposed a €200 million penalty on Budapest for “deliberately” violating refugee laws

FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister of Viktor Orban. ©  Omar Havana/Getty Images

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has threatened with retaliation after an EU court slapped Budapest with a €200 million ($216 million) fine over its asylum policy, according to national media.

The European Court of Justice (ICJ) imposed the penalty on the Orban government on Thursday, accusing it of “deliberately avoiding” compliance with the bloc’s refugee laws. The ICJ also ruled that Budapest must pay an extra fine of €1 million a day until it changes its policies.

Shortly after the ruling was announced, Orban took to social media to describe it as “outrageous and unacceptable.” 

“It seems that illegal #migrants are more important to the Brussels bureaucrats than their own European citizens,” the prime minister said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

READ MORE: EU fines member state €200 million for refusing to accept migrants

Orban also reportedly threatened retaliation in an interview with Radio Kossuth on Friday.

“We’ll figure out a way, so it hurts Brussels more than it hurts us,” the leader said, without elaborating, according to Hungarian news outlet and Bloomberg.

Obran described the fine as “a huge amount” and claimed that it was unprecedented. “It’s just insane,” quoted the prime minister as saying.

The ICJ ruling relates to a 2020 judgement that found that Hungary had restricted access to international protection procedures, unlawfully detained asylum seekers in transit, and illegally removed third-country nationals. Hungary has since closed transit zones but otherwise has not complied with the ruling, which “constitutes a serious threat to the unity of EU law,” the court said in a statement.

Hungary has taken a hard stance on migrants from outside the EU since the number of daily arrivals more than quadrupled during the migrant crisis of 2015, which saw over a million people arrive on the continent, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan. In September and October of that year, Hungary put up fences at its southern borders with Serbia and Croatia.

READ MORE: Western war hawks want Ukraine’s resources – Orban

The standoff comes as Hungary is set to take over the EU presidency on July 1. Orban’s government has also consistently criticized the Western approach to the Ukraine conflict. Budapest has opposed NATO’s funding and arming of Ukraine, as well as the sweeping sanctions on Russia, instead calling for a ceasefire and diplomatic solution.


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