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Hungary’s Orban continues fight in opposition to EU immigration rules

BUDAPEST, Hungary: Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said that the Hungarian government will defy a European Union (EU) ruling and continue enforcing its own immigration laws.

The EU’s top court ruled that the Hungarian law, which criminalizes lawyers and activists who help asylum seekers, was in breach of European law.

Due to the long-running row over Hungary’s migrant rules, the country could miss out on EU funding worth billions of euros.

Despite this, Orban said Hungary will not change its 2018 law, dubbed the “Stop Soros law,” after the billionaire philanthropist who the government accuses of supporting Muslim migration.

As well as criminalizing people and organizations that help migrants apply for asylum, the law also prevents migrants from seeking asylum if they arrived from a country where their livers were not deemed at risk.

In November, the EU’s Court of Justice said Orban’s nationalist government had “failed to fulfill its obligations” under EU law.

In response, during his end-of-year news conference this week, Orban said the EU’s rules were “obsolete” in the face of “massive migration” since 2015.

“The reality is that we have to stop the migrants at the borders. This can be solved by one thing: changing the European asylum rules, but this process has not even started yet,” he said.

After the EU withheld COVID-19 pandemic funds, Orban accused it of “the most brutal sabotage.”

Top EU officials said Hungary is unlikely to receive a first installment of pandemic cash this year, unless it commits to democratic reforms and a free judiciary.

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But Orban claimed the EU was withholding funding to try to remove him from power, adding, “The whole process, from the point of view of the unity and the future of Europe, is the most brutal sabotage. This is what shatters the EU.”