Frontex Suspends Activity in Hungary After EU Court Ruling

Migrants camp in tents next to the border fence at the Serbian Kelebija border village near Subotica on February 6, 2020, as the Tompa road border-crossing on the Hungarian side has been temporarily closed by the Hungarian police. - Hungarian police temporarily closed a Serbian border crossing on February 6 …
ISTVAN HUSZTI/AFP via Getty Images

Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, has announced the suspension of its operations in Hungary after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) claimed that the Hungarian government had failed to protect migrants.

The agency’s decision came on Wednesday, following the ECJ’s ruling in December that the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had violated rules by denying entry to migrants at the border with Serbia.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, an NGO which has benefitted from funding from Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros in the past, claimed as many as 4,400 migrants had been pushed back to Serbia since December.

European Commissioner Ylva Johansson confirmed the suspension of Frontex operations. She said she welcomed the announcement, telling media on Thursday: “I expect Hungary to change their policy and to let people […] apply for asylum on their territory.”

“We can’t have an agency like Frontex helping Hungary [in] stopping people to come to Hungary if they are not complying with their fundamental rights and EU law,” she added.

Hungarian Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations Zoltán Kovács spoke out about the cancelling of operations, saying: “Not as if we got a lot of help from Frontex, but it seems Brussels wants to take away even the little bit we did get.”

“Hungary is not going to give in to pressure from pro-migration forces. We’ll continue to defend the Hungarian people, and the country’s — and EU’s — borders,” Mr Kovács said. He added: “We hope this is not a sign that some want to withhold funding from those countries that insist on protecting the borders.”

Earlier this month, the European Commission filed a notice to Hungary over migrant pushbacks. It said it would be sending a letter to the country to demand an explanation over the claims raised by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

Last year, members of the European Parliament urged Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri to resign following accusations that the EU’s joint border force and coastguard was engaged in migrant pushbacks in the Aegean sea, an allegation that the agency has denied.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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