EU slaps notice on Hungary
BRUSSELS - Agence France-PresseThe EU executive is to serve Hungary a “formal notice” of one month to change two controversial laws adopted by Hungarian premier Viktor Orban’s government or face court action.
Under the proceedings, Orban’s government faces the threat of being brought to book by the European Court of Justice failing the reversal of legislation on the judiciary and data protection, said an EU source close to the matter who requested anonymity.
The European Commission sees the new legislation as threatening the independence of Hungary’s judiciary and data protection authority.
A letter of formal notice is the first stage in a pre-litigation procedure.
Hungary two weeks ago submitted a list of responses to the Commission after Brussels laid three legal challenges to a raft of laws that have drawn concerns about the state of democracy under Orban’s leadership.
The Commission, which is tasked with ensuring European Union member states respect the bloc’s treaties, was not satisfied with Budapest’s explanations on two laws, the source said.
The first concerns immediately lowering the retirement age for judges from 70 to 62, a move critics say is aimed at elbowing aside certain judges.
“On the one hand the period set for applying the measure is believed to be too short,” the source said.
Hungary has been given one month rather than the usual two to reverse the law.
Orban’s government too has only a month to modify legislation on its data protection authority to ensure it is fully independent, the source said, adding that one concern was over the possible firing of the head of the authority from one day to the next.
Brussels on the other hand has suspended proceedings regarding the independence of Hungary’s central bank after deeming Hungary’s response satisfactory, the source added.