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EC official says start of official talks depends on govt response to questions - Világgazdaság

The chief representative of the European Commission (EC) in Hungary, Tamas Szucs said that the start of official talks between Hungary’s government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EC on a financial assistance package depend on the government’s response to questions Brussels had asked regarding National Bank of Hungary and Financial Stability bills.

In an interview with the business daily Vilaggazdasag published on Tuesday Mr Szucs said that the EC needs time to see the final version of the bills currently moving through parliament in order to determine if, after the latest submitted amendments they are compatible with European Union law.

Mr Szucs refrained from confirming National Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy’s assertion that negotiations would resume on January 10.

"We are waiting for the response of the Hungarian government - the time and the form of the EC delegation’s return depends on this", Mr Szucs said.

While there is no specific timeframe for the response it is difficult to go on with the talks without clarifying the worries raised regarding these pieces of legislation by the Economic and Financial Committee as well as the Ecofin in November, he said.

Neither the IMF or the EC made any surprise requests at the informal talks, Mr Szucs said. The EC delegation arrived with a clear mandate to hear the government’s response to the questions the two bodies raised regarding the above pieces of planned legislation. The Hungarian authorities are represented on both bodies, so they were aware of their stand and the questions, but they did not respond by late Thursday, Mr Szucs said.

Informal talks regarding the package between Hungary’s government and the IMF and the EC ended abruptly on Friday. A spokesman for European Commission Vice President Olli Rehn said the talks had been broken off due to the proposed legislation the National Bank of Hungary, and an IMF spokesperson said the same.