(WASHINGTON POST) — STRASBOURG, France — The European Union and Hungary brought their fight over democratic rights fully into the open Tuesday, with the EU Commission launching legal challenges against the former Soviet-bloc country many fear may be slipping back toward authoritarianism.

The EU’s executive Commission said the new constitution that came into force Jan. 1 undermines the independence of the national central bank and the judiciary and does not respect data privacy principles.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose grip on power has already earned him the nickname “Viktator,” defied the criticism and invited himself to the EU parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday to confront European detractors head on.

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