EU border agency pulls out of Hungary amid migration row

The EU border agency Frontex has suspended its operations in member state Hungary on Wednesday after the top European court ruled Hungary’s migration policy was not compliant with EU law.

“Following the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decision and after legal assessment and relevant consultations, Frontex has decided to suspend all its operational activities on the ground in Hungary,” the agency said in a statement.

“Frontex looks forward to resuming its activities in Hungary after the CJEU decision is implemented in national legislation.”

Viktor Orbán’s government has clashed often with Brussels since the peak of the migrant crisis in 2015 which saw the eastern front of the European Union border overwhelmed with refugees and migrants from the Middle East.

Over one million migrants heeded the call of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel to come to Europe, with many refugees making perilous journeys and other opportunistic economic migrants throwing away documentation to pose as refugees and claim asylum in northern Europe.

The Hungarian government erected razor wire fences to suppress the flow of mass migration and established two transit zones near the Serbian border where people were detained instead of enabling the country’s administration to be saturated with asylum applications.

The European Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled that the detention of individuals in said transit zones was unlawful.

Hungary’s Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations, Zoltan Kovacs tweeted in response to the agency’s decision: “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.”

European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson praised the agency’s decision, telling Euronews: “We recently had a ruling in the European Court of Justice saying that what Hungary is doing is not in line with the European law.

“And that’s why, of course, I think it’s the right decision for Frontex to suspend their support at the Hungarian border right now.”

Responding to the European Court of Justice’s ruling in December, Hungary’s Justice Secretary Judit Varga said the circumstances of the case “no longer exist” as the “transit zones have been closed” but strict border control is still maintained.

Varga added: “We will continue to protect the borders of Hungary and Europe and will do everything we can to prevent the formation of international migrant corridors.”