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Orban says EU objections to legislation 'not difficult to resolve'

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a radio interview early Friday that dealing with legislation the European Commission has objected to was "not an especially difficult matter", adding that the government had already taken a position on the matter and would "make proposals" that would not require an extraordinary session of Parliament.

The European Commission launched three accelerated infringement proceedings against Hungary - on the country’s new Central Bank Act, the mandatory retirement age for judges and the data protection authority - early in the week.

Speaking about legislation allowing the merger of the National Bank of Hungary and financial market regulator PSZAF Mr Orban told public radio MR1-Kossuth-Radio: "They have operated separately until now and they can be separate from now on too."

But he put the issue of the central bank managements’ oaths on the constitution among the "more difficult matters". He said it would be inappropriate for the government to concede in the matter without a debate.

Mr Orban said the government would also take a stand on the issue of applying a cap on public sector workers’ salaries across the board, without making exceptions for such positions as the management of the central bank or the State Audit Office.

Asked about a report by Bloomberg on Thursday that the International Monetary Fund could make eliminating Hungary’s flat-rate tax a condition for financial assistance the country is seeking, Mr Orban said he had heard so much "poppycock" and about so many leaks that he could not take them seriously.

The government will not reveal its position until the start of the talks, the Prime Minister said.

"We’re sitting down to reach an agreement that serves Hungary’s interests. We must naturally somehow avoid such agreements that go against the country’s interests, we have to reject them and propose another solution," he said.

Mr Orban said he thought "a political agreement" could be reached at talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at talks in Brussels on Tuesday.

He added that Hungary had not been officially informed that resolving the dispute over the legislation to which the EU has raised objections is a condition for official negotiations to start on the financial assistance from the IMF and EU.