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EBRD unveils strategy for Hungary

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A stronger banking sector, increased energy security and improved competitiveness are outlined as priorities in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Developmentʼs (EBRD) country strategy for Hungary released yesterday, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

The four-year strategy makes “strengthening banking sector resilience and the capacity to lend” a key aim and notes that a memorandum of understanding between the government and the EBRD signed in February of 2015 “provides a clear basis for the improvement of the policy, regulatory and tax environment for banks”. 

In the MoU, the government committed to reducing the bank levy and said it would consult with banks before taking any steps that could burden the sector further. 

The strategy outlines the EBRDʼs support in the financial sector in areas such as privatization, sector consolidation and improved asset/liability maturity matches, “to the extent that the agreed measures under the MoU are consistently implemented”. It also mentions cooperation with the government and the National Bank of Hungary to support resolution of non-performing loans. 

“Improving further Hungaryʼs energy security through strengthening market based regional interconnections, optimizing the use of storage capacities and enhancing energy efficiency” is another of the strategyʼs priorities. The EBRD will seek to support investments in two-way gas interconnectors between Hungary and the networks of neighboring countries as well as energy savings projects. 

The third priority the EBRD names is “enhancing competitiveness and addressing innovation gaps” by helping local companies catch up to the technology frontier and supporting businesses in less developed regions. The EBRD will also look to build more commercial and competitive market structures in targeted sectors, such as municipal and inter-city transport, according to the strategy. 

The EBRD has invested €2.7 billion in Hungary since 1991. 

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