Passions ran high in the chamber on Wednesday as several political group leaders raised concerns not only over specific legal and constitutional provisions in Hungary, but also what they saw as a wider undermining of democratic values in that country. Others vigorously opposed this view, warning that such an approach went too far. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told MEPs that straightforward solutions to meet concerns could be found. The debate in Parliament came one day after the European Commission started infringement procedures against Hungary on three specific laws. The discussion saw highly contrasting views from opposite sides of the House on how to address the situation.
Orbán addressed the "huge changes" his cabinet has implemented, asking for understanding regarding this restructuring, and thanking in advance for every further support and assistance.
Before Orbán was given the floor, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said the bloc does not want "any doubt to be raised about democracy in any of the member states"
While expressing respect for the Hungarian people, their culture and their "battle against totalitarianism," he asked the Hungarian government to "show its democratic commitment."
Barroso said the situation concerning Hungarian laws is "extremely sensitive", adding that in the current environment communication needs to be "sensible".
He said the EC "will not hesitate" to take specific measures if the Hungarian government fails to address the problems appropriately.
Orbán praised the Hungarian Parliament for passing 365 laws in 18 months, building up a new system of education, health care, tax and social transfer.
"We have reorganised everything that was generating debt in Hungary," he said, adding that the overhaul hurt lobby interest, e.g. with the bank tax.
Orbán noted that Hungary was on the verge of "economic collapse" when his Fidesz party came in to power in the spring of 2010, adding that they are proud of the work they have carried out since.
Regarding the objections of the EC over recently adopted laws, the PM emphasised that irrespective of what the papers wrote about, not one legal objection was raised about the new Constitution up to date.
Index.hu reminded that the PM is wrong on this, given that lowering the mandatory retirement age for judges, prosecutors and public notaries from 70 years to the general pensionable age (62 years) as of 1 January 2012.
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Last Updated on Thursday, 19 January 2012 07:02