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Austrian MEP blasts Hungarian govt over public debt lawsuit bid

The decision to make predecessors liable for Hungary's state debt sparked a wave of criticism by Austrian politicians.

An Austrian member of the European Parliament (MEP) has compared the Hungarian government to a dictatorship over plans by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to sue his predecessors, reports Austrian Independent.

The reaction comes after Monday news that a special parliamentary commission was checking whether predecessors could be charged for the soaring state debt. Orbán labelled the actions of the Socialist prime ministers who ruled Hungary between 2002 and 2010 as "political crimes."

Now Ulrike Lunacek accused Orban of "trying to put himself on the same level" Belarusian President Alexander Lukachenko was acting. Lukachenko is widely regarded as Europe’s last dictator. The head of the Austrian Green Party’s delegation in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, told Austrian radio station Ö1 on Tuesday morning: "Only dictatorships act that way. This initiative is another evidence for how Orban tries to exploit his two-third majority (in federal parliament)."

The European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, said he was "worried" over news about Orban’s most recent plans. The Austrian People’s Party official said he was certain EU leaders and the European Commission would carefully check a possible draft bill.

"A crucial aspect of a constitutional state is that people can rely on the law," Hahn said, adding that he had strong doubts about retroactive interferences.

Elmar Brok told Ö1 he could imagine the Hungarian government would eventually abandon its plan to get former prime ministers in court over the country’s financial condition. The MEP – whose party, the German Christian Democratic Union cooperates with Orbán’s Fidesz faction – explained he expected the Budapest parliament commission to realize that there was no legal base for lawsuits as envisaged by Orbán.