CJEU Case C-821/19 / Judgment

European Commission v Hungary
Policy area
Asylum and migration
Deciding body type
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding body
Court (Grand Chamber)
Decision date
ECLI (European case law identifier)
  • CJEU Case C-821/19 / Judgment

    Key facts of the case:

    Actions for failure to fulfil obligations – Area of freedom, security and justice – Asylum policy – Directives 2013/32/EU and 2013/33/EU – Procedure for granting international protection – Grounds of inadmissibility – Concepts of ‘safe third country’ and ‘first country of asylum’ – Assistance given to asylum seekers – Criminalisation – Prohibition on entry to the border transit zone of the relevant Member State.


    Outcome of the case:

    On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby:

    1. Declares that Hungary has failed to fulfil its obligations under:

    • Article 33(2) of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection by allowing an application for international protection to be rejected as inadmissible on the ground that the applicant arrived on its territory via a State in which that person was not exposed to persecution or a risk of serious harm, or in which a sufficient degree of protection is guaranteed;
    • Article 8(2) and Article 22(1) of Directive 2013/32 and Article 10(4) of Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection by criminalising in its national law the actions of any person who, in connection with an organising activity, provides assistance in respect of the making or lodging of an application for asylum in its territory, where it can be proved beyond all reasonable doubt that that person was aware that that application could not be accepted under that law;
    • Article 8(2), Article 12(1)(c) and Article 22(1) of Directive 2013/32 and Article 10(4) of Directive 2013/33 by preventing any person who is suspected of having committed such an offence from the right to approach its external borders;

    2. Dismisses the action as to the remainder;

    3. Orders Hungary to bear its own costs and to pay four fifths of the costs of the European Commission;

    4. Orders the European Commission to bear one fifth of its costs.

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter

    99) In the light of those factors, Paragraph 353/A(1)(a) of the Criminal Code, read in conjunction with Paragraph 353/A(2) and (3) thereof, must be held to be a restriction on the rights enshrined in those provisions, which, moreover, contribute to giving concrete expression to the right enshrined in Article 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’).


    121) It is apparent from the Court’s case-law that a lawyer must actually be able to carry out satisfactorily his or her task of advising, defending and representing his or her client, failing which that client would be deprived of the rights conferred on him or her by Article 47 of the Charter (see, to that effect, judgment of 15 July 2021, Commission v Poland (Disciplinary regime for judges), C‑791/19, EU:C:2021:596, paragraph 206 and the case-law cited).


    124) However, the fact remains that it would be contrary to Article 47 of the Charter if, for the purpose of accessing a court or tribunal with the power to ensure respect for the rights guaranteed to that person by EU law, a person were compelled to infringe a legal rule or obligation or to be subject to the penalty corresponding to that offence (see, to that effect, judgment of 6 October 2020, État luxembourgeois(Right to bring an action against a request for information in tax matters), C‑245/19 and C‑246/19, EU:C:2020:795, paragraph 66 and the case-law cited).


    132) It follows that that provision is capable of strongly discouraging any person wishing to provide any assistance whatsoever for the purposes of making or lodging an application for asylum, irrespective of the capacity in which that person is involved, despite the fact that that assistance is intended solely to enable a third-country national or stateless person to exercise the fundamental right to apply for asylum in a Member State, as guaranteed in Article 18 of the Charter and given specific expression in Article 6 of Directive 2013/32.