PM says disputes with European Commission can be 'swiftly' resolved

EU

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said during a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on Wednesday afternoon that problems that have emerged with the European Commission regarding new laws in Hungary "could easily, simply and quickly be resolved."

With regard to the laws to which the European Commission has voiced objection, Mr Orban remarked that "none of them have to do with the constitution of Hungary as passed last April," but to transitional provisions connected to it.

Mr Orban reiterated that remedying disagreements (related to the laws affected by the infringement proceedings launched on Wednesday) should cause no difficulty.

The prime minister told members of the parliament that Hungary was "on the brink of collapse" when his government came to power in the spring of 2010, adding that "We’re talking about the renewal of Hungary."

Speaking prior to Mr Orban at the European Parliament’s plenary session on Wednesday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said that he received a letter from Mr Orban on Wednesday in which the Prime Minister indicated his intention to modify the legislation concerned.

Mr Barroso also said that the issue of the independence of the National Bank of Hungary must be dealt with before the beginning of discussion on the country’s requested financial assistance package from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

"We do not want a shadow of doubt on the democracy of any of our member states," Mr Barroso said.

The European Commission on Tuesday launched expedited infringement procedures against Hungary with regard to the independence of the central bank related to concerns over the country’s new Central Bank Law, the mandatory retirement age for judges and the independence of the data-protection protection.

The Commission also said it would ask Hungary’s government for further information concerning judicial independence.

The EC gave Hungary has one month, less time than usual, to respond to its concerns.

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