Leading S&D MEPs are deeply concerned by the news that the Hungarian government has granted asylum to the former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. Gruevski, who left power in 2016 following widespread protests, fled to Hungary after being sentenced to prison in Skopje on corruption charges.
In a joint statement, S&D Group vice-president Tanja Fajon and foreign affairs spokesperson Knut Fleckenstein said:
“This is a deeply concerning development. It sets a dangerous precedent and could have serious consequences in the region. Asylum laws are designed to protect people fleeing war and persecution, instead the Hungarian government is using them to shield a political ally from the consequences of his actions. As asylum falls under the EU’s competences, the European Commission should look at this case and assess whether any EU laws have been broken.
“There is a bitter irony that the same government that has spent the last five years demonising asylum seekers now offers refuge to a man who has been convicted on corruption charges. While those fleeing war in Syria and Iraq were detained, denied food and water, and criminalised, a former Macedonian Prime Minister who allegedly arrived in Hungary using illegal documents and faces a jail sentence in his home country is welcomed with open arms.”