“Hungary respects the ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the quota case”, the Ministry of Justice’s Minister of State for European and International Judicial Cooperation stated before the National Assembly’s European Affairs Committee on 18 September 2017.

The Minster of State informed the Committee with regard to the 6 September ruling, in which Hungary’s legal action asking for the rescinding of the European Council’s resolution on the mandatory resettlement quota was rejected.

“The ruling itself does not impose any additional obligations on member states, including Hungary”, Mr. Kecsmár emphasised, adding that that the Court ruling also stated that the quota decision can only be applied until 26 September 2017.

“Very few asylum seekers have in fact been transferred based on the mandatory quota, because the transfer mechanism has proven to be unfit for this purpose in view of the fact that ‘secondary movement’ make the Council resolution an empty one”, he pointed out. “One of Hungary’s arguments in the case was precisely the fact that the Council resolution on the mandatory resettlement quota is quite obviously unsuitable for realisation of the set goal”, he recalled.

“Nation states were able to effectively handle the mass flow of migration, while the quota resolution is unsuitable for achieving this”, the Minister of State added, pointing out that the fact that Hungary is not receiving refugees within the framework of the mandatory quota does not mean that it not making positive rulings on submitted asylum requests that conform to legal requirements.

According to Mr. Kecsmár, the question of a permanent mechanism is still on the agenda within the European Union, and it will remain there among instruments aimed at handling the migration crisis.

With relation to the infringement proceedings launched with relation to non-compliance with the resolution, the European Commission could put the case before the Court at any time, he said.

In his comment, Committee Vice-Chair Tibor Bana (Jobbik) spoke about the fact that Jobbik had supported the Government in the quota case, because it regards the protection of the country as extremely important. Everything must be done to assure that no migrant, rich or poor, arrive in Hungary,he said.

István Józsa (Hungarian Socialist Party) declared that the MSZP sees the dangers inherent in mass immigration and regards the country’s security as important, but requests that the Government refrain from “extrapolating the transfer of 1294 people to theoretical proportions”, adding that in his view the exaggeration of the real risk in government propaganda is reducing the public’s sense of security.

Fidesz Chair of the Committee Richárd Hörcsik said the Court had clearly made a political decision, and warned against the dangers of “stealthy legislation”.

The Committee also listened to Mr. Kecsmár’s report on the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. The Government does not support the establishment of the new organisation, and is refusing to take part in cooperation together with seven other EU member states, he repeated. According to the standpoint of the Hungarian Government, institutions such as the EU judicial cooperation organisation (Eurojust) and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) that take action against crimes that violate the financial interests of the European Union already exist, and the establishment of a new institution would inevitably weaken these two, smoothly-operating organisations.

Mr. Józsa said it would be worth joining the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, explaining that the fact that Hungary is refusing to take part in the cooperation could indicate that it has something to hide with regard to the use of EU funding.

According to the socialist politician, joining the initiative might express the fact that everything is in order with relation to the application of EU monies, and the country is prepared to accept the related transparency.

Mr. Hörcsik raised the question of just how effective the European Public Prosecutor’s Office in countries with different traditions of criminal law.

The European Affairs Committee also discussed two individual submissions from Members of Parliament, both of which were rejected by the Committee’s governing part majority. One submission by Gábor Fodor (Independent) called for a political statement on supporting the European Union and its values to make it clear to everyone both at home and abroad that EU values are important to Hungary. The other independent submission from Tamás Harangozó and Bertalan Tóth (MSZP) called for the country to take part in the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.