President of the Republic János Adér met German Chanc-ellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday during a two-day visit to Berlin where she criticised the Fourth Amendment to Hungary’s new Constitution pushed through by the ruling Fidesz party the previous day despite calls for a reconsideration from the EU, Council of Europe and civil and human rights organisations.
Merkel told Áder that Hungary should take seriously the concerns expressed by European partners and friends, a German government spokesman said.
Earlier Áder had met Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle for what the latter’s office described as an “open and at times contentious exchange of views”. Westerwelle is one of four EU foreign ministers that recently called for new sanctions to be made available to put pressure on member states who fail to abide by European law and democratic principles (see analysis on the bottom of page 2). Meanwhile, the speaker of the Bavarian parliament, Barbara Stamm, cancelled in protest a scheduled meeting with her Hungarian counterpart, Fidesz politician László Kövér.
Áder the last hope
The president of the republic has the power to return legislation to the national assembly for reconsideration, so Áder is the last hope of critics who want the Fourth Amendment blocked. He was a career Fidesz politician until he handed in his membership card on being nominated as head of state last year by his long-time associate PM Viktor Orbán. Germany is the most important investor in Hungarian industry and its largest trading partner.