Thank you for your email of 11 September 2013 addressed to the European Commission regarding criminalisation of homelessness in Hungary.
The Commission has emphasised repeatedly that criminalising approaches towards homeless people by Member States, e.g. for public place use or begging, are inefficient, costly, stigmatising and fail to address the social context of the problem. Instead, Member States were invited to implement integrated, housing-led homelessness strategies to tackle homelessness in a sustainable way. The Union indeed recognises and respects the right to social and housing assistance for all those who lack sufficient resources, in order to combat social exclusion and poverty, as confirmed by Article 34(3) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
EU Funds are available to finance actions for better social integration of homeless people, including improved access to quality services and social housing. The Commission has proposed, under the next multiannual financial framework, to further increase funds to promote social inclusion and combat poverty.
The Commission also supports the findings of the Venice Commission of 17 June 2013 relating to the provision on homelessness in the 4th amendment of the Hungarian Fundamental law which raises several constitutional concerns.
The Commission expects that the Hungarian authorities will address this opinion in full accordance with both European Union and Council of Europe principles, rules and values and remains committed, within the limits of its powers, to ensure full respect of the rights and freedom enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Commission europeenne, B-1049 Bruxelles I Europese Commissie, B-1049 Brussel – Belgium. Telephone: (32-2) 299 11 11. Office: MO 59 5/066. Telephone: direct line (32-2) 2961001. Fax: (32-2) 2967623.
The Hungarian version of the letter.