In October 2014, Austria’s immigration agency decided to deport a single Afghan mother and her children back to Hungary in accordance with the Dublin Regulation.
The mother appealed the decision. The court hearing the appeal has ruled that the situation in Hungary has changed greatly since October 2014, meaning it no longer considers Hungary to be a safe country for the return of asylum seekers.
Commenting on the ruling, Austria’s interior minister said the court’s decision is specific to the case of the Afghan woman and her children. However, he acknowledged that the decision would likely set a precedent for similar cases in the future.
It is up to individual European Union Member States to decide for themselves which countries they consider “safe third countries”. The Hungarian government recently declared Serbia to be a “safe third country”, thereby clearing the way for the deportation back to Serbia of asylum seekers arriving from Hungary’s southern neighbor.