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Hungary publishes reform plan in English

Hungary's National Economy Ministry published on its website a document in English outlining a reform plan unveiled a week earlier.

The government presented the Széll Kálmán Plan, in Hungarian, on March 1. The plan's aims, to reduce state debt and foster growth, were welcomed by markets, but some analysts said it lacked detail.

The English-language pdf document can be downloaded here.

"The program is aimed at consolidating the Hungarian public sector by means of structural reforms, strengthening economic growth, encouraging the increase of employment and enhancing the competitiveness of Hungary’s economy," according to the document.

The plan aims to make labor market regulation simpler and more transparent, resulting, together with economic growth, in a reduction of the number of unemployed by 100,000 in 2012, 200,000 in 2013 and 300,000 in 2014.

In a chapter on public transport, the ministry said public transport companies had been "run haphazardly" and carried "superfluous burdens". State-owned railway company MÁV accumulated debts of HUF 289 billion by 2010, of which HUF 189 billion was covered by state guarantees, and Budapest's public transport company BKV owes banks HUF 75 billion, it said.

MÁV was allocated HUF 208 billion in the 2011 budget, over the annual HUF 183 billion the company received in 2000-2010. BKV will receive HUF 32 billion in state support, but the local council has requested an additional HUF 16 billion from 2011 on. The ministry put the cost of assets BKV must still replace at HUF 600-800 billion.

State-owned coach company Volán was allocated HUF 27 billion in the 2011 budget.

The ministry said a system of funding public transport that secures the efficient operation of public transport companies in the long term through "optimal utilization" of budget resources must be drawn up. Parallel services offered by public transport companies must be eliminated by establishing a holding called the National Transport Company, it added.

The plan seeks to achieve savings of HUF 120 billion within three years through a transformation of the drug subsidy system under the program. The 2011 budget allocates HUF 343.5 billion for drug subsidies.