Orbán slams Commission “blackmail” as unacceptable
Friday 13 April 2012
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán slammed the European Commission, on 13 April, for blackmailing his country by tying the opening of negotiations over a €15-20 billion EU-IMF credit line to certain infringement proceedings and administrative letters. “Creating political conditions - for example over the justice system - would amount to blackmail, which is unacceptable within the European Union,” Orbán reportedly told Hungarian national radio
MR. The Commission refused to comment on this statement. So far, EU executive chief José Manuel Barroso only explicitly linked the issue of the independence of the central bank to the start of formal negotiations on the requested EU-IMF financial assistance. But the Commission also repeatedly said that securing “a safe legal environment” to restore business confidence is key. Narrowing positions between Budapest and the Commission on other infringement proceedings and administrative letters - concerning independence of the country’s national data protection authority, the retirement age for judges, the judiciary and media pluralism - appears thus to be, to some extent, a condition.