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Hungary sees IMF-EU agreement as soon as possible

Hungary aims to reach an agreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund on precautionary financial assistance as soon as possible - there is no "plan B", minister without portfolio in charge of talks on the assistance Tamás Fellegi said at a conference organized by business news website on Thursday.

Fellegi said matters of dispute with the European Commission had to be cleared up before the negotiations could start, but he added that these were questions of political nature.

"We are ready to sit down at the negotiating table, and we are waiting for the other party to sit down too," he added.

Issues to be discussed at the talks include the impact of the personal income tax and corporate tax changes on the central budget, the sustainable financing of public transport, and the effect of one-off items and structural reforms on the budget, Fellegi said.

Fellegi said he would travel to Washington next week for talks with the IMF management.

He said that Hungary would not sacrifice its national interests or the defense of its national sovereignty at the talks with the IMF and EU.

"We are prepared to accept any conditions that support the country's long-term economic and social stability, the strengthening of its competitiveness and our continuous efforts to put the economy on the path of growth," he added.

Fellegi reiterated that Hungary wants to continue to finance its debts on the market and does not require an immediate drawdown of IMF-EU support. He added that an agreement with the IMF and EU would serve as a financial safety net, causing the forint's exchange rate to stabilize and yields on government securities to fall. He said it could also give banks impetus to lend to Hungarian companies.