Two infringement procedures the European Commission launched against Hungary concerning the retirement of judges and data protection laws were registered on Monday by the EU court in Luxembourg.
The commission signalled on April 25 its decision to turn to the European court, noting that the Hungarian government’s responses to its objections had fallen short of its expectations.
The European Union’s executive originally started three infringement procedures against Hungary. The one concerning the independence of the central bank has been since dropped on the expectation that the government would change the law in line with the expectations of the European Central Bank.
The Luxembourg court confirmed in a statement receipt and official registration of the commission’s infringement submission, but it did not indicate when the process would start. The EC in April said it would request an urgent procedure in the case of the retirement of judges.
The EC in April stated concrete legal concern over Hungary’s decision to reduce the retirement age of judges, prosecutors and notaries from 70 to 62 years. It said that the measure, if implemented, would lead to an early retirement of 236 judges in 2012 alone, which would mean pensioning off almost ten percent of all judges within just one year. It would also affect around 25 percent of public notaries, the EC said.
Regarding the data protection authority’s independence, the EC said Hungary had made progress, but ending the previous data protection commissioner’s term was seen as conflicting with EU laws. By creating a new National Agency for Data Protection Hungary prematurely ended the six-year term of the former data protection commissioner, who was appointed in September 2008 and whose term of office would have ended in September 2014 only, the EC said.
“The personal independence of a national data protection supervisor, which includes protection against removal from office during the term of office, is a key requirement of EU law,” the commission said earlier.