State aid to companies in Hungary second highest in EU

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Hungary spends more on state aid to companies as a percentage of GDP than any other state in the EU except for Malta, a report by the European Commission shows.

Hungary spent 1.08% of its GDP in 2005 on state aid to companies, excluding aid to farming and public transportation companies, according to the Commission's latest State Aid Scoreboard, published on Monday. Only Malta's spending on state aid was higher at 2.61% of GDP.
In absolute terms, Hungary's spending on state aid, excluding aid to farming and public transportation companies, reached €900 million in 2005, level with spending on state aid in Poland, which has four times as many people, and higher than in all other new EU member states. Hungary's spending on state aid was more than double the amount in the Czech Republic and almost five times that in Slovakia.
Including aid to farming companies, but still excluding that to railway companies, Hungary's state aid reached €1.6 billion or 1.83% of GDP in 2005.
The Lisbon agenda, the EU's action plan for boosting competitiveness in the region, aims to "reduce the general level of state aid, shifting the emphasis from supporting individual companies or sectors towards tackling horizontal objectives of Community interest, such as employment, regional development, environment and training or research."

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