Brussels (Brussels Morning) Today, Hungary’s Constitutional Court is taking up the challenge raised by the country’s Justice Minister against an EU court ruling, which the government claims, if enforced, would violate the country’s constitution.
Justice Minister Judit Varga filed a complaint in February against a December 2017 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which found Budapest in breach of EU laws on the protection of refugees, the Hungarian authorities having deported them to the Serbian border.
According to Varga, implementing the EU court ruling would result in many migrants permanently remaining in Hungary, an outcome, the minister claimed, that would negatively affect Hungary’s sovereignty as enshrined in the constitution.
While Hungary’s top court was scheduled to debate the issue on Monday, it is unclear when it would reach a ruling on the issue. On Friday, the European Commission said it was seeking a CJEU ruling to fine Hungary for its failure to comply with the original ruling in the nearly four years that have ensued since the verdict was reached.
Poland, Hungary’s long-time ally in disputes with the Commission, is already locked in a legal and political battle over the primacy of EU law, the country’s Constitutional Tribunal having ruled that some aspects of EU treaties are in breach of the Polish constitution.
The EU’s top court already imposed a daily fine of 1 million euro on Poland for refusing to comply with a court ruling to dismiss its controversial disciplinary chamber for judges – a body which the EU claims undermines judicial independence, whereas Warsaw insists it is a key component of the country’s judicial reform.
While the Polish government promised to disband the body, under threat of losing access to EU funds, it has yet to take any steps to do so, claiming it would be done as part of broader judiciary reforms, which so far lack even a roadmap.