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Ball is in IMF’s court on Hungary financial assistance, official says

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It is now up to the International Monetary Fund to decide whether to offer Hungary a Stand-By Arrangement, a precautionary loan or a combination of the two, state secretary in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office Mihaly Varga said in an interview on public television on Friday.

Speaking on m1’s Ma reggel programme, Mr Varga said the government’s job now was to prepare for negotiations with the IMF on financial assistance.

Asked about a report by Bloomberg on Thursday that eliminating Hungary’s flat-rate tax could be a condition for the financial assistance, Mr Varga said, "I don’t want to guess," but when pressed by the interviewer on the possibility it could be a condition, he said, "Then we’ll sit at the negotiating table and negotiate about that."

Mr Varga said objections by the European Commission to several pieces of Hungarian legislation would be easy to remedy. He added that the government was in a favourable position now that the Commission had spelled out their objections in writing.

The government has discussed the Commission’s objections but has not made a decision on them as yet, he said in response to a question.

The European Commission launched three accelerated infringement proceedings against Hungary - on the country’s new Central Bank Act, the mandatory retirement age for judges and the data protection authority - early in the week.

Mr Varga dismissed as false, reports suggesting he had been contacted by European Union delegates proposing that he could be Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s successor, bringing with him a more stable, predictable economic policy.

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