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Economy Minister says a functioning banking system that lands is part of solution for stronger economy

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National Economy Minister Mihály Varga told business website portfolio.hu in an interview published on Monday that the government should use existing tools in devising additional measures that will have an impact on the profitability of Hungary's financial sector.
    With regard to such measures, Varga told Portfolio.hu that "there are many tools, but for now we want to use the existing ones."
    Varga told the website that it has become clear over the past two years that there is no single solution to the problem of assisting foreign-currency debtors in Hungary, adding that only existing means should be applied to assist these debtors.
    "Solving the problems of 1.7 million foreign-currency debtors with a single idea is almost impossible. There can be only solutions that are split into parts. Beyond a certain point it must be important for the economy to have a functioning banking system that lends. That is why I'm of the view that the existing means need to be applied. We can have meaningful discussions about new tools only if we can agree with our partners, e.g. the Banking Association, on an acceptable compromise about these," Varga said. 
    Varga told the website that the government's main economic tasks are having the European Union's Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) lifted from Hungary, boosting economic growth, meeting the deficit target and helping the country's fx debtors. The national economy minister added that increasing Hungarian ownership within the domestic financial sector is also an important task.
    Varga said that Hungary's public finances are in good shape overall this year and therefore the government is not considering any further fiscal-adjustment packages. The national economy minister added, however, that if it turns out that more corrective measures are needed, the government should devise these in the spring in order to ensure that Hungary can be removed from the EU's EDP.
    Varga acknowledged that revenue from the government's financial-transaction tax have been lower than targeted, though said it would be premature to talk about increasing the tax.
    The economy minister saw no reason to change the 0.9% official GDP growth projection for 2013, putting the rate between 0.5%-1%.

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