Orban gives way in dispute with EU

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Orban gives way in dispute with EU

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Hungary’s premier Viktor Orban has yielded in a dispute with the European union over contested laws tightening his government’s control over institutions including the central bank.

At a special parliamentary hearing Orban received a battering from the Commission president and others.

“We therefore call on the Hungarian government to clearly demonstrate its commitment to the principles of democracy freedom and the rule of law,” said Jose Manuel Barroso.

MEP Guy Verhofstadt declared: “Hungary is an example of what may happen wherever there is a concentration of crisis tendency with authoritarian means and a policy of nationalistic isolation.”

MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit added: “and I tell you that you are going in the direction of Chavez, Castro and all totalitarians of this world.”

Orban knows that failure to respond means Hungary will face difficulties in winning financial help from international lenders over its public finance crisis.

“Today I told Mr. Barroso that the problems that have been raised by the Commission can easily be resolved. They can be swiftly remedied,” said Viktor Orban.

But analysts say Orban, who has has lost support in Hungary since sweeping to power may find it politically difficult to offer the full retreat that EU and international lenders are seeking.