An editorial from this morning's Times (can't paste in the link as it's subscribers only):
"The new constitution which took effect in Hungary yesterday is an extraordinary affront to basic liberties. It vastly increases the powers of the ruling party, reimposes state control on the central bank, limits the independence of the courts, politicises the judiciary, holds the Opposition criminally responsible for the former Communist Party's misdeeds, gives a three-man government cabal the power to veto any budget, subverts the sovereignty of its neighbours by allowing their Hungarian minorities to vote in Hungarian elections, and, most disgracefully, attempts to reimpose state regulation of religion by reducing the number of acknowledged faiths and sects from 300 to 14 while denying any official place in society for Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu congregations unless they have operated in Hungary for at least twenty years.
The new constitution underpins the populist, nationalist ideology that the formerly liberal party Fidesz now espouses. It insists that God and Christianity hold the country together, renames "the Republic of Hungary" simply "Hungary", states that life begins at conception and that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. And since these provisions are now enshrined in the constitution, no move towards legalised abortion or same-sex marriage is likely to muster the two-thirds parliamentary majority needed to overturn the provisions. Even the adoption of the euro is made more difficult, as the constitution specifies the forint as legal tender.
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is one of several powerful voices in the West who have expressed alarm at the threats to democracy, especially the new restrictions on religion. For the past eight months, since parliament - where Fidesz has a huge majority - approved the constitution, the European Union has warned Budapest not to reimpose state controls on the central bank. But Viktor Orban, the increasingly autocratic Prime Minister, has denounced any "outside interference", and gone ahead with measures that subordinate the bank to the ruling party and contradict a prerequisite of any future euro membership.
Even more ominously, the interference in the justice system, including the dismissal of the former chief judge, a government right to choose which court should hear a case, and a new state body to supervise the judicial system, return Hungary to the monopoly of power by the ruling party under which it suffered for more than 40 years.
All this is incompatible with EU membership. This must be made bluntly plain to the new autocrats in Budapest. Hungary is currently demanding 20 billion euros in emergency EU help for its struggling economy. Not a cent should be paid while this disgraceful constitution remains in force."
On the basis of this constitution, should Hungary be denied EU funding? Indeed, should Hungary even be expelled from the EU?