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PM rejects Barroso’s request to withdraw contested bills

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he rejected European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso’s request to withdraw two recent bills, related to financial stability and the central bank.

Speaking in an interview to commercial Hir TV late on Thursday, Mr Orban told Barroso in his reply letter that it was not possible to delay the two draft laws because they were "important building blocks of the country’s new constitution which is to come into effect from January". He added that neither law contained anything which the European Commission’s president had a right or capacity to criticise.

The prime minister said every bill put to the Hungarian Parliament was in line with the European legal framework.

Earlier in the week, Mr Barroso asked the Hungarian prime minister in a letter to withdraw the two bills, which were fast-tracked for adoption last week, and suggested this might be a precondition for talks on a pending loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union. He said neither laws complied with the EU’s basic treaty.