Hungarian legal move sparks concerns

March 12, 2013 at 12:39 PM

BRUSSELS, March 12 (UPI) -- The European Union is called on to take action against a Hungarian decision that shows contempt for the rule of law, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

Hungarian lawmakers passed a constitutional amendment that would allow the government to reintroduce measures previously rejected by a constitutional court. Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that laws restricting political and religious freedoms were problematic.

"These latest changes leave no doubt about the Hungarian government's contempt for the rule of law," said Lydia Gall, a European expert at the rights group said in a statement from Brussels. "The government's willingness to bypass the constitutional court and subvert the constitution for its own political ends underscores the need for a concerted EU response."

The European Union this week expressed concern over the principle of the rule of law in Hungary following the parliamentary decision Monday.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland said they expected Hungarian leaders to "engage in bilateral contacts with the European institutions in order to address any concerns raised as to the compatibility of these amendments with European principles and EU law."

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