Hungary tweaks constitution to soothe Brussels concerns

Hungary announced Friday two changes to its controversial constitution in an effort to stave off criticism from Brussels, after it threatened possible sanctions.

Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi told a press conference that a plan to tax Hungarians to pay for any fines imposed on Hungary by the constitutional court or international courts was to be dropped from the constitution.

Another controversial provision — allowing a top judicial official to transfer cases from one court to another, a measure slammed as limiting courts’ independence — was also to be removed, he said.

“Hungary’s aim is to resolve disputes and avoid infringement procedures against it,” Martonyi explained.

The moves were a rare concession by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government, which has regularly clashed with Brussels since coming to power in 2010, and came after the EU warned of possible sanctions.


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