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Lázár defends planned secrecy for state-owned companies

Competition

Draft legislation submitted to the Hungarian Parliament that would allow state-owned companies to classify their information and finances will provide similar privileges afforded privately-owned companies in the country, Hungary’s Cabinet Chief János Lázár said yesterday.

During his weekly press conference Lázár made a reference to a paragraph in a bill submitted by Economy Minister Mihály Varga as legislation underpinning the 2017 budget, and which contains a ban on access to data at “any public company or in connection with economic activities of businesses held by them” if that data could harm the company’s market interests, according to reports. 

Lázár said that thanks to recent acquisitions, the Hungarian state has become a “market player” as the companies it owns conduct “market activities”, according to Hungarian news agency MTI. He said a recent decision by the Constitutional Court allowing state-owned postal company Magyar Posta to refuse public information requests for data on the business it does on the deregulated market had set a “precedent”, MTI reported. He cited a couple of examples of public requests for data from Magyar Posta on the costs of postal services and the conditions for the sale of its accounts as being “of interest to competitors but not to the general public”, MTI added.

Under the draft legislation, courts would decide in individual cases whether information formally requested from state-owned companies is a “business secret” or not, Lázár said according to the news agency.

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