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Hungary has most liberal economy in CEE region, Fraser says

Hungary's economic competitiveness may have lost its shine compared to its regional peers but it is still the most liberal economy in Central and Eastern Europe, according to the Fraser Institute. The Canadian organisation takes into consideration the size of government, the legal environment, the independence of the financial system, openness to the international economy and company law, said business daily Világgazdaság on Friday. A high rating is given to economies that contain the building blocks for sustainable development over the long term as well as how successfully the country is able to utilize such in-built advantages. The paper reported the Fraser Institute's findings on the heels of another survey, by the World Bank, which indicates that Hungary's business competitiveness has deteriorated. This survey found that while last year Hungary was sixtieth on the list of 175 countries, this year it has dropped to sixty-sixth -- putting it behind EU hopefuls Romania and Bulgaria. Yet another survey fresh off the press, cited by the business paper, shows that Hungary has moved up on a global list measuring country risk in the past six months.

The latest Euromoney magazine survey ranks the country thirty-fifth on the global list of 185 countries, up from 41st in March. The Fraser Institute, however, said that Hungary advanced five places in its rankings to twentieth place on a list of 130 countries. Its findings put the country well ahead of its regional peers. Economist László Csaba told the paper that the ranking was significant but at the same time cautioned that the Canadian institute's parameters were necessarily broad, taking into consideration as it did such long-term projections. Hong Kong retains the highest rating for economic freedom, closely followed by Singapore. Among those nations that have made substantial gains in economic freedom since 1985, the institute lists Hungary, Iceland, Poland, and Israel among others. The bottom nations included Rwanda, Burundi, Algeria and Venezuela. (