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Political preconditions for IMF talks would be blackmail, says Orbán

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Hungary would consider it blackmail if the European Union defined preconditions of a political kind for talks with the International Monetary Fund, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told public radio MR1-Kossuth on Friday morning.

All IMF's requirements are of a financial nature, but the EU is "flirting with the idea" of setting political conditions for Hungary, Orbán said. He added, however, that the EU "has not yet crossed the Rubicon". If Brussels should make such a decision, not only should Hungary firmly reject it, but all other member states, he said.

Setting political conditions, such as ones in connection with the judiciary, would be blackmail, which is unacceptable in the EU, Orbán said. He argued that it would change the nature of European integration completely, and make member states vulnerable.

It would be "inconceivable and unacceptable" if Hungary - an IMF member - would apply for a precautionary loan and its application is not evaluated exclusively on economic but on political considerations, Orbán said. "It would mean that the IMF or the EU overstretches its own authority," he said. "No EU member could accept an intrusion of such magnitude," he added.

Orbán referred to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, Pakistan, and Belarus, as countries that have received loans from the IMF, and concluded that those loans had been granted purely on a financial basis.

Orbán confirmed that he would meet European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on April 23, in Brussels.

Orbán said that issues with the EU have now been sorted: it has become clear on what subjects Hungary sees eye to eye with the community, and in what areas still there is disagreement. "We have resolved a lot more issues than we left open," he said, and suggested that open issues could be decided by the European Court of Justice. "Brussels is not Moscow; one of two opposing parties cannot pass decision over a disputed matter alone," he said.

The prime minister also reiterated the necessity to reduce the country's huge debt, but said that many had opposing interests and mentioned for example bankers, bureaucrats, and "large companies hoping to do big business".

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