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EU Threatens Action Over Hungary Policies


Hungarian protesters demonstrate against Prime Minister Viktor Orban earlier this month.

Hungarian protesters demonstrate against Prime Minister Viktor Orban earlier this month.

The European Commission has stepped up its warning of legal action against Hungary over new policies it says may be unlawful under EU legislation.

Hungary has been under pressure from the EU and other international institutions for passing a new constitution that the 27-member bloc fears violates the independence of judges, the central bank, and the data-protection agency.

The new constitution came into force just weeks after Hungary requested financial aid from the EU and the IMF.

The two institutions broke off preliminary talks on the rescue package in December, after they voiced fears that the constitutional changes endangered the independence of the Hungarian central bank, which is enshrined in EU treaties.

The commission said in a statement on January 11 that once its analysis was completed in the next few days, it would be "committed to fully use all its powers to analyze the compatibility of national law with EU law" and said it would not hesitate to launch "infringement procedures" against the Hungarian government.

The statement said the commission would announce its decision at its meeting on January 17.

The government spokesman's office said Hungary was committed to the rule of law and European values and was “ready for discussions and searching for solutions.”

Rights watchdogs and the European Parliament have warned that Hungary risks returning to authoritarianism under Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

compiled from agency reports

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