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FinMin reads praise into apprehensive Ecofin report

While encouraging additional budget cuts lest Hungary should fall behind its Euro adoption schedule, today?s meeting of EU finance ministers (Ecofin) approved the 2005 financial targets the country set for itself as part of the Maastricht criteria convergence plan. In contrast with the Finance Ministry?s complacent summary of the ministers? overview of Hungary?s economic fundamentals, the Ecofin report recommended that ?Hungarian authorities put an end to the present excessive deficit situation as rapidly as possible,? according to newswire Bloomberg. Although Hungary has outlined ambitious plans to cut its deficit to 3.6% of GDP according to the new statistical methodology, the EU requires the Finance Ministry to implement further cuts in spending by July 8 to narrow its budget gap to a maximum of Ft 1,020 billion, or 4.7% of GDP. The European ministers also recommended raising budget reserves as a backup in case Hungary is unable to meet the target. In the Finance Ministry?s reading, Ecofin acclaimed the efforts Hungary has made to reduce spending, which resulted in a lower deficit and sustainable, healthy economic growth.