The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s new constitution, only three days old, has EU officials in Brussels scrambling for a response.
Critics say the new Basic Law weakens democratic institutions and checks and balances, and cements the ruling Fidesz party’s grip on power. The EU and IMF is especially concerned that it strips the Central Bank of its independence. Last month a trip to Budapest to study a 15 to 20 billion euro aid package was called off.
“For the time being there is no planning on our side to come back to Budapest. One key element of our assessment is of course not only the financial element that we need to discuss with the Hungarian authorities but also the legal environment that is necessary to ensure the financial stability in Hungary,” said EU Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly.
Last night tens of thousands of people packed the capital’s streets to protest against the law, which is also accused of clamping down on media freedoms, rewriting the electoral law to favour Fidesz, and allowing Fidesz to make key public appointments that will long outlive any removal of the party from power at the ballot box.