Commissioners to discuss infringements on 25 April
By Gaspard Sebag | Tuesday 24 April 2012
The College of Commissioners is scheduled to hold a debate, on 25 April, on the ongoing infringement proceedings launched against Hungary concerning the independence of the country’s central bank, its data protection supervisor and the retirement age of judges. A decision on further steps, which include going to court, could be taken at that meeting. The inclusion of this item on the college’s agenda follows an exchange of views between Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and EU executive chief José Manuel Barroso, on 24 April. The commissioners will also discuss administrative letters sent to Budapest concerning the independence of Hungary’s judiciary and of the media.
Concerns about the independence of the Hungarian central bank (MNB) have stalled the start of negotiations with Budapest on requested EU-IMF precautionary financial assistance. To get the ball rolling, Budapest claims to have acted upon all bar one of the Commission’s preoccupations: the salary cap of the MNB governor. On this point, Orbán says Budapest will not budge. The college will thus have to decide whether this disagreement calls for clarification in front of the EU Court of Justice (ECJ). As his country’s interest rates spiral upward, the Hungarian premier acknowledged that financial assistance is necessary in order to “create credibility around the Hungarian financial affairs”.
In a press release issued after the Orbán-Barroso meeting, Budapest states that the majority of issues related to the data protection authority and to the retirement age of judges were successfully closed. “Only two legal questions remain open where the government would acknowledge if they were to be solved by the European Court of Justice,” reads the statement.