STRASBOURG, France President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday the European Commission had decided to start legal proceedings against Hungary because of its failure to make changes to a raft of new laws governing its central bank, the judiciary and data protection authority.
"The college has just decided to launch infringement proceedings against Hungary on three issues: independence of the central bank, the retirement age of judges and the independence of the data protection authority," Barroso told reporters after a meeting of the EU's executive.
"We hoped the Hungarian authorities would make the changes necessary to respect European law. This has not happened so far, so we have decided to launch the proceedings."
An EU official said Hungary would now have one month to change the laws or be taken to the European Court of Justice, the EU's highest court. Barroso said he would meet Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on January 24th in Brussels to discuss the EU's concerns further.
Orban is due to address the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
(Writing by Luke Baker; reporting by Claire Davenport)