What will Frontex's withdrawal from Hungary achieve?

The European border agency Frontex is withdrawing from Hungary for the time being in reaction to Budapest's refusal to implement a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The court ruled in December that Hungary's asylum system was illegal, citing unlawful practices such as pushbacks of refugees to Serbia. But according to commentators Frontex's initiative won't make much of a difference.

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Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Only financial sanctions will help

Frontex's withdrawal is purely symbolic, Deutschlandfunk criticises:

“It doesn't change the fact that the agency worked side by side with Hungary for four and a half years. That's how long it took for the ECJ to overturn the Hungarian Act on Asylum, which had been in force since 2016. What it also doesn't change is the fact that Hungary hasn't changed its course in the slightest. ... The only thing that will make countries like Hungary cede any ground is major financial cuts. One option is for the EU Commission to apply to the ECJ for such sanctions. And it should take that route as soon as possible. Another means for applying pressure could be the newly introduced rule of law mechanism that many in the EU are so proud of.”

hvg (HU) /

Budapest doesn't care about laws anyway

This isn't the first time Hungary has delayed the implementation of a ECJ ruling, notes hvg:

“The situation is similar to what happened with the ECJ ruling on [the law against] NGOs. The Hungarian authorities haven't implemented this ruling since last summer, and their practice continues to run counter to it. During the debate on this the argument comes up regularly that if a member state fails to comply with an ECJ ruling it is clearly violating the rule of law.”