European Commission launches accelerated infringement proceedings against Hungary over the independence of its central bank and data protection authorities as well as over measures affecting the judiciary

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The European Commission has today started legal action against Hungary over new legislation that came into force at the beginning of the year under Hungary’s new constitution. Following several exchanges with the Hungarian authorities on the drafts of the new legislation – notably letters sent by President José Manuel Barroso, Vice-President Viviane Reding (EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship) and Vice-President Olli Rehn (EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro) – the Commission has now concluded a detailed legal assessment of the new legislation adopted at the beginning of January. For the Commission, the Hungarian legislation conflicts with EU law by putting into question the independence of the country’s central bank and data protection authorities and by the measures affecting its judiciary.

The Commission therefore decided today to send three Letters of Formal Notice to Hungary – the first stage in the EU’s infringement procedure – and to raise further related issues with the Hungarian authorities to identify whether further action may be warranted under EU law, notably regarding the independence of the judiciary. The Hungarian authorities now have one month to respond to the Commission’s concerns.

President José Manuel Barroso said: “Hungary, like all Member States, is obliged by the EU Treaties to guarantee the independence of its National Central Bank and its Data Protection Authority and the non discrimination of its judges. The Commission is determined to take any legal steps necessary to ensure that the compatibility with European Union legislation is maintained.” Here to read more.

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