Hungary bans rough sleeping amid criticism from EU and opposition

Viktor Orban’s government has come under fire from EU

Rough sleeping (i.e people sleeping in the open air) will be banned in Hungary from today after a relevant law was adopted by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government. The piece of legislation, called “cruel” by critics comes into force as a constitutional amendment was approved by the Budapest parliament on 20 June banned “habitual residence in a public space”, beefing up a 2013 law that made it a fineable offence.
Police will be empowered to remove rough sleepers from streets and dismantle huts and shacks, with a government official saying the law “serves the interests of society as a whole”.
Its goal is “to ensure that homeless people are not on the streets at night-time and that citizens can make use of public space unimpeded”, Attila Fulop, social affairs state secretary, told reporters.
An estimated 11,000 places exist in state-run shelters but experts say at least 20,000 people are homeless nationwide.
Last month, the European Parliament voted to initiate legal action against Hungary following a report drawn up by MEP’s suggesting, among other things, that the country’s treatment of its homeless was contributing to a “clear risk of a serious breach” of EU values.