Hungary tones down hopes for Orban-Barroso meeting

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 24, 2012 3:58 AM
Hungary tones down hopes for Orban-Barroso meeting

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary's deputy prime minister tempered expectations on Tuesday that Prime Minister Viktor Orban would come to a flagged political agreement with the European Commission on disputed laws, which derailed talks on vital financial aid.

When asked about ongoing expert-level discussions between the Hungarian government and the EU's executive on a string of legislation designed to prepare a political agreement between the two parties, Tibor Navracsics told public radio:

"I do not know if either the prime minister or the President of the Commission have the ambition to strike an agreement today, the issues at stake are just not that pressing."

"There will be talks I think and the expert level talks precede the political negotiation in order to allow us to see which are the areas where an agreement could be reached."

The Commission, the EU's executive, said last week that new laws on the central bank, the retirement age of judges and the country's data protection authority violated EU rules.

Navracsics added the government believed a mandatory cut in the retirement age of judges was not discriminatory, as it was part of a broader pension reform.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs)