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Hungary PM to meet Barroso next week in reforms row

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(BUDAPEST) - Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban will travel to Brussels on January 24 to meet European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, a government spokesman in Budapest said Tuesday.

The announcement came after the European Union executive ordered Hungary to scrap disputed reforms that breach "the letter and spirit" of EU law or face court action.

Budapest said it had taken note of the EU move.

"Our aim is to give satisfactory and comprehensive answers to the questions raised, and to find a solution for the problematic issues as soon as possible, preferably without going through the full infringement procedure," the government said in a statement.

"The Hungarian government considers the independence of the central bank, the judiciary and the data protection authority as indispensable as important as does the European Commission."

"Therefore there is no disagreement with the institutions of the European Union on the importance of basic principles, common European values and achievements. A thorough analysis of the Commission's arguments will be started," it also promised.

Earlier in Strasbourg, Barroso said the Commission's 27 members had decided to take action against Hungary over threats to the independence of its central bank and data protection authority.

Following Hungary's failure to make requested changes to new reforms, in line with EU law, "we have decided to begin infringement proceedings," he said.

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