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Hungary needs safety net rather than loans, says Orbán

Hungary needs a safety net rather than a loan to ensure protection if the economic situation in Europe worsens, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on local television in Debrecen (E Hungary) late Thursday.

Orbán said that if the European economic situation worsens – adding that there was a good chance it would – Hungary should not be dragged along with it.

It is in Hungary's interest to start talks with the International Monetary Fund, proceed quickly and close the negotiations as soon as possible to ensure a safety net for the country's financing matters as soon as possible, the prime minister said.

Concerning a question about the possibility of the European Union suspending part of Hungary's Cohesion Fund allocation, Orbán said that "money from the EU is our money, it is not a gift or a reward".

European Union finance ministers in March approved a European Commission proposal to suspend €495 million of Cohesion Fund allocations for Hungary for 2013 because of the country's failure to address its excessive deficit.

He noted that by joining the EU in 2004 Hungary gave up a large part of its revenues from duties as well as offering investment opportunities and markets for European businesses.

"We are close to reaching an agreement....I can say that we will not agree to losing a single forint, we will get every forint we are entitled to," Orbán said.

On the subject of reshuffling his government, the prime minister said that it was unavoidable, however, it would not be done in a rush. He said he was trying to find ways for the cabinet to work more efficiently.