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Hungarian PM visits EU leaders to ease dispute

BRUSSELS - Hungary's prime minister visited EU leaders Tuesday in an effort to resolve a dispute over whether his government is breaching EU laws regarding the independence of the central bank and the judiciary.

BRUSSELS - Hungary's prime minister visited EU leaders Tuesday in an effort to resolve a dispute over whether his government is breaching EU laws regarding the independence of the central bank and the judiciary.

The European Union has launched legal proceedings against Hungary over the issues, and also over its contention that the country does not respect data privacy principles. Critics fear that the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban is drifting toward authoritarianism.

But there was no word on progress, which is essential to Hungary's effort to get financial help from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

After meeting Martin Schulz, the new president of the European Union, Orban found himself standing by listening while Schulz doled out criticism.

Schulz accused Orban of "taking on board in Brussels the European rhetoric" then criticizing it as unacceptable when he was back home in Budapest, and said he should bear in mind that European leaders are not stupid.

Orban also met Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, the committee formed of the 27 EU heads of government. No statement was issued following that meeting.

He was also meeting Tuesday evening with Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, the EU's executive arm.

Hungary has requested financial help from the EU and the International Monetary Fund and both institutions have said they won't begin aid talks until the independence of the Hungarian central bank has been ensured.

 
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