EU says Hungary may face sanctions on constitution changes.

By bne IntelliNews March 18, 2013
The European Commission may suspend cohesion fund payments to Hungary due to the controversial amendments to its constitution, portfolio.hu reported, citing EU commissioner, Viviane Reding. The commission sees as unacceptable for a member state to change the fundamental law every six months. The Commission will assess the amendments to the constitution in light of their implications with regard to Article 7 of the EU Treaty. Under this article, the voting rights of a member state may be suspended if fundamental rights in the given country are violated. Hungarian lawmakers approved on March 11 a set of changes to the constitution which critics, including the EU and the Council of Europe, say pose a danger to democracy and the rule of law. One of the amendments introduces the possibility of levying a kind of tax, called "contribution" if a decision by the European Court, the Constitutional Court or other judicial bodies would cause extra government expenditure as long as Hungary's state debt exceeds the 50% of GDP threshold which is also contained in the constitution. Other amendments annul all Constitutional Court decisions issued prior to January 1 of this year and limit the Constitutional Courts examination of the constitutional. Among others, changes allow only the public media to carry political ads prior to the general and European parliamentary elections, with equal space given to each party. It stipulates that students with state-subsidised studies will be required to work in Hungary for a certain period of time after they graduate.

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