Prime minister Viktor Orban has meet the EU’s top brass in an effort to reach a deal over Hungary’s disputed constitution.
His visit to Brussels on Tuesday followed last week’s decision by the European Commission to launch legal action against Budapest. Speaking at the European Parliament Orban denied the new laws were undemocratic, but promised reforms.
“What is going on Hungary is consolidation politics! what we try to do is unify the people behind a social and economic program and not to split the society,” Orban said.
Budapest is under mounting political and economic pressure from the EU to reverse laws affecting Hungary’s central bank, judiciary and data protection. The International Monetary Fund has also refused to re-start talks on financial aid until Hungary reaches a deal with Brussels.
In addition, to the Commission’s proceedings EU finance ministers opened the way on Tuesday to freeze vital cohesion funds, a fact not lost on Hungary’s Finance minister György Matolcsy:
“We should work very closely with the Commission to improve our figures and make all the necessary decisions to achieve the below 6 percent of GDP budget figure for 2013,” he said.
Speaking from the EU Council euronews’ Raquel Garcia Alvarez said: ‘‘Hungary is not in the eurozone so the Commission is limited in the penalties it can impose. That’s why all the talk now is of suspending the money Hungary gets through the EU’s cohesion fund.’‘
Brussels has given Budapest a month to respond to its infraction proceedings.