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Lázár: Improving Hungary’s competitiveness lies in decreasing bureaucracy

History

Hungary’s key to competitiveness is in the reduction of the country’s bureaucracy, Cabinet Chief János Lázár said this morning, commenting on his announcement last week that 15% of state-employed staff could be laid off, according to reports.

During an interview with state-owned all-news channel M1, Lázár said that while the public sector accounted for some 20% of all jobs in Hungary, that ratio was 13% in Slovakia, and 10% in Austria or Germany, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

Lázár insisted Hungaryʼs high ratio of public employees has worked against “excellent economic programs” and the country has failed to become more competitive, according to MTI.

Lázár said that the aim of the changes he is proposing is to make state administration simpler and more transparent, and based on ministries and local government offices that can provide fast, efficient and cheap operations. He added that a government team was evaluating government agencies and their staffing requirements, MTI reported.

He reiterated that money saved through layoffs will be spent on raising the salaries of those retained by 50%, according to MTI. Commenting on those who are leaving, he said with such low unemployment rates people could easily quit their jobs in the public sector and find employment in the private sector, adding that the government will give assistance to those who are leaving, such as programs for those voluntarily quitting their jobs or incentives to employers providing jobs for former public sector employees, MTI reported.

In an interview with state-owned Kossuth radio, the cabinet chief said that cutting the number of bureaucrats was not enough. Administration costs must also be cut, and laws and regulations pertaining to the sector must be simplified, according to reports. He mentioned construction and taxation as areas where regulations are too complex, and said that the legal environment should be shaped so that easier access to European Union funds is provided, according to MTI.

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