The expansion of state authority over the neighboring states through informal migration controls: the case of Hungary’s control over Serbia

Tasawar Ashraf, Umut Korkut, Daniel Gyollai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Downloads (Pure)


Our preliminary fieldwork shows that there is large scale agreement between the migration and border authorities of Hungary and Serbia on the names of asylum seekers before they are allowed into to the Hungarian transit zones and apply for international protection in Hungary. The list, proposed by the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees (SCR) and approved by the Hungarian border authorities, is communicated through the use of community leaders from the Serbian reception centre. Hungary’s motive behind keeping its cooperation with Serbia informal is to conceal the existence of cooperation between both states and to avoid legal challenges in the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Therefore, the paper argues that the informalisation of migration management constitutes a significant challenge for the authority of the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951(hereinafter referred as the Refugee Convention). The paper further argues that Hungary’s informal cooperation with Serbia is a form of expansion of the Hungarian state authority under the principle of extraterritorial jurisdiction of a state. Therefore, despite informal nature of Hungary’s migration cooperation with Serbia, the responsibility for violations of asylum seekers rights in Serbia and their exclusion from international protection continues to engage Hungary for the reason of having effective control on the migration management in Serbia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-316
JournalSpanish Yearbook of International Law
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2019



  • asylum seekers
  • exclusion
  • informalisation of migration
  • international protection
  • state responsibility
  • wrongful act

Cite this