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Ecostat head delivers positive assessment of Hungary

Pál Belyó, the director of Ecostat, the research arm of the Central Statistical Office (KSH), delivered a positive assessment of the first five years of Hungary's EU membership and said the country could rise to the middle range of member states after the crisis if it successfully carries out macroeconomic adjustments. Hungary has taken an active role in EU decision-making in the areas of agriculture policy, energy affairs and the eastern expansion of the union, Belyó said. Ecostat researcher László Szabó said the big gap between Hungary's GDP and GNI - more than HUF 1,700 billion in 2007 - was worrying as it shows the large degree of foreign ownership in the country, making it especially vulnerable to drops in FDI during economic downturns. The EU's expansion in Central and Eastern Europe has caused growth to pick up from an average annual 3.5% in 1999-2003 to 5.5% in 2004-2008 as trade between new and old member states increased, Szabó said. (MTI - Econews)