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Fiscal Council to form opinion on budget draft before submission to Parliament - new proposal

An amendment submitted to Parliament on Monday would give a to-be-amended Fiscal Council the right to express opinion on the government's draft budget prior to the budget bill's submission to Parliament. The proposal was part of a series of amendments submitted to a package of budget-related legislation before the final vote by the parliamentary Economy and IT committee.

Recently initiated changes to legislation on the Fiscal Council would have rather allowed the Council to express its opinion on budget bills, and to recommend the President of the Republic to send an already passed budget act back to Parliament.

Under Mondays proposal, the government would have to sent the budget draft to the Council which will have 10 days to send back its comment or, if it has serious objections regarding the credibility or the practical execution of the draft, its disapproval. In the latter case the government will have to discuss the draft again, and then send it back to the Council. The Council will have another five days to inform the government of its opinion on the reconsidered draft before the latter submits its budget proposal to Parliament.

The Fiscal Council's opinion – or, in case of a first-instance disapproval, its opinion on the reconsidered draft – will have to published on the Parliament's website immediately after the submission of the budget bill.

Other parts of the committee's Monday proposal contain the necessary exemptions from the Labor Code to allow for the elimination of 40-strong analysts staff of the Fiscal Council by the originally planned end-of-2010 deadline, or within three days after the amendment takes effect. The proposal also makes for the expiry of the mandate of the three present members the Council as soon as the amendment itself takes effect.

The proposal would as before change the composition of the Council, making its three members the governor of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB), the head of the State Audit Office (ÁSzZ)and an economist appointed by the President of the Republic for a six-year mandate.

At present, three economists recommended by the presidents of ÁSz and the MNB and elected by Parliament make up the Fiscal Council, and they have a staff of analysts. Their assessments of the government's fiscal legislation have often been viewed as critical. (MTI-Econews)