Germany concerned about new Hungarian constitution

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Germany voiced some concern over Hungary's new constitution adopted by parliament on Monday as not being in line with "European Union values".

The new constitution -- passed despite a boycott by the Hungarian opposition which claims it destroys the country's system of checks and balances -- adds to worries earlier expressed over a new Hungarian media law, Germany's deputy foreign minister Werner Hoyer said in a statement.

"We are observing developments in Hungary with much attention and some worry," the minister said.

"The media law adopted at the start of the year shows an attitude towards fundamental rights which -- despite some amendments -- is hardly compatible with European Union values," he said.

"Our worries over the media law are made worse, not better, by today's adoption of the constitution and its future implementation," Hoyer added.

Berlin, Paris, and the European Union earlier this year criticized the media law which, despite amendments made to it in February, still includes a Media Council, made up entirely of close allies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ruling conservative Fidesz party, to oversee all press coverage.

The new basic law, drafted solely by Orban's Fidesz, is seen as a "coup" to cement the party's own power and keep it in control even if it is voted out of government.

Under the text, a host of laws will now require a two-thirds majority in parliament to be adopted, almost guaranteeing they cannot be changed in the future.

© 2011 AFP

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