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Hungary wants to increase control over judiciary and higher education

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 European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Parliament President Martin Schulz both expressed concerns directly to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. 

"Europe is a community of values," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told reporters in Brussels Monday. "This is not just about constitutions and rights on paper, but they must also be lived in practice."

Protests of 2,000-3,000 people took place in Budapest over the weekend, with participants claiming concern that controversial pieces of legislation blocked by the Constitutional Court and affecting higher education, homelessness, electoral law and family law will now be implemented.

Former Hungarian president Laszlo Solyom, who served from 2005-2010, on Monday also strongly criticized the bill, arguing in the opposition daily Nepszabadsag that it would dissolve the state‘s separation of powers.

The EU and Orban have clashed over national measures before, with the bloc referring Hungary to the European Court of Justice last year over reforms to its judiciary and data protection authority.

In a letter to EU colleagues last week, Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi dismissed much of the concern as based on "misunderstandings and inadequate information" and reassured them of Budapest‘s "readiness to keep engaged in dialogue." dpa gm hm amh bb Authors: Boris Babic, Helen Maguire

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