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German criticism of new constitution “unacceptable”

Hungary’s Foreign Ministry has released a strongly worded statement as a rebuttal to criticism from the German government about the country’s new constitution presenting an infringement on basic human liberties.

The constitution, approved by parliament in the face of protests and a boycott by opposition parties LMP and MSzP, adds to concerns about the policies of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government, particularly on minority rights, German Deputy Foreign Minister Werner Hoyner said on Monday. Fears fueled by the adoption of a controversial media law have been sharpened, he said.

“Hoyer’s statement is inexplicable and unacceptable as German foreign policy leaders have been briefed in detail several times about the process of Hungary drawing up a new constitution,” Zsolt Németh, state secretary at the Foreign Ministry and a lawmaker from governing Fidesz said in a release. In contrast to Hoyer’s remarks, the new constitution doesn’t narrow minority rights, it doesn’t limit the rule of law and doesn’t go against common European values, he added.

Hungary’s understanding of basic rights is hardly compatible with that of the European Union and “our concerns that started in relation to the media laws are rather reinforced and not weakened by the constitution passed,” Hoyer said. Hungary resented the remarks, saying it’s “unacceptable” that Germany is referring to the media law, which Hungary amended according to European Commission requirements.

Meanwhile, the Council of Europe, which aims to protect the legal foundations for human rights, democracy and the rule of law throughout Europe, has requested the Venice Commission, its constitutional law advisory body, to prepare a report about the new Hungarian constitution, AFP said an citing unnamed commission source. The report is expected in June.