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Hungary's Orban Defends Contentious New Constitution

Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban (left), talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron at a European Union summit in Brussels on January 30.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said he is "proud" of the country's new constitution and questioned the motives of those criticizing it.

Critics of the new constitution -- who include the European Commission -- say it undermines democracy by undermining the independence of the central bank and the judiciary.

Orban, in his annual address to the nation on February 7, said the constitution would help shield Hungary from the eurozone debt crisis and also claimed its critics were financially motivated by interests in Hungary's markets and resources.

Orban previously has signaled he was ready to alter some of the legislation as his government seeks a badly needed credit line of up to 20 billion euros ($25 billion) from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Compiled from agency reports