Hungary 'astonished' at German reaction over constitution

19th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Hungary on Tuesday expressed surprise at German deputy foreign minister's criticism of its new constitution which critics say destroys the system of checks and balances.

The Hungarian foreign ministry said in a statement it was "astonished to learn about the statement of ... Werner Hoyer on the adoption of the Hungarian constitution".

"Contrary to minister Hoyer, the charter does not narrow down minority rights, does not limit rule of law and does not infringe upon common European values - quite the contrary, it strengthens them," it said.

Hoyer expressed concern on Monday on the new text, passed on the same day, despite an opposition boycott.

He drew a parallel with worries earlier expressed over a new Hungarian media law, a reference the Hungarian ministry called "particularly unacceptable".

With its preamble laden with references to God, Christianity, the Holy Crown of Hungary, the fatherland and traditional family values, critics have slammed the new constitution as discriminatory.

They have raised fears about the status of those who will not fit the mould, such as non-believers, homosexuals or single-parent families.

Apart from its contents the new constitution has come under fire for the speed of the debate -- it was rushed through in a mere nine days -- the lack of transparency in producing it and the late availability of a public draft.

Opposition parties had refused to take part in the drafting.

The Hungarian government was forced to amend a controversial media law, introduced on January 1 and seen by its critics as gagging press freedom, after the European Union found fault with its clauses.

The ministry said it expected bilateral negotiations to resolve "eventual concerns".

© 2011 AFP

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