Central European News Briefs

News | Vienna Review | April 2012

International pressure on Hungary mounted as the country faced sanctions over its budget deficit and a damning new report over judicial independence.

EU finance ministers in March voted to suspend €495 million in aid to Hungary from 2013 unless it makes progress in reducing its public deficit by June.

The decision is unprecedented, as 23 of 27 EU members have missed deficit targets in the past without facing penalties, and EU officials dismissed Hungary’s efforts to meet its target through extraordinary taxes on banks and retail, The Economist reported.

Meanwhile, a report by the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog, severely criticised Hungary’s new National Judicial Authority for concentrating the power to select judges in the hands of a single person, the agency head, who is appointed for nine years and is also the wife of a prominent politician from the ruling Fidesz party.

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