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EC ready to check Hungary's compliance with ruling of the European Court of Justice

The European Commission and the European Parliament is likely to complete their scrutiny of Hungary’s implementing a ruling by the European Court of Justice, under which judges forced into retirement should be restored to their former positions, EC Vice-President Viviane Reding said in Washington. Reding said the scrutiny had been launched because the Commission wanted to ascertain to what extent the Hungarian constitution was in line with European legislation. One of several issues the Commission had raised questions about was the case of 750 Hungarian judges, who had been sent to retirement under a Hungarian law – later annulled by the Hungarian Constitutional Court – and who sought legal remedy at the European forum. The commissioner said that the EU had but a “nuclear weapon” against members violating European norms, Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, under which a member state could be deprived of its vote in the community. That, however, should only be used if “all goes wrong”, she said, adding that the treaty should be amended so that the EU has less stringent ways to deal with violators. Meanwhile, in an interview published in Saturday’s daily Népszava, Reding said the EC is not waging any kind of war against Hungary, it is only insisting that the country’s legal system be in line with European Union rules. Hungary’s legal system must fully comply with the EU’s and the same applies to all EU members, regardless of which political party is in the government, Reding said. She denied that Brussels did not have concrete, factual concerns about happenings in Hungary. Reding said the European Commission was preparing a detailed analysis of whether the recent, fourth amendment to the Hungarian constitution was in line with the law. It is very regrettable that the Hungarian government refused to comply with a request by EC President Jose Manuel Barroso and did not wait for the EC’s assessment before approving the constitutional amendment, Reding added.