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IMF agreement possible on basis of gov’t response, Orbán says

Hungary can reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission based on a letter sent by the government responding to questions last week, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told public Kossuth Radio early Friday.

Orbán said he wanted to seal an agreement with the IMF that would help Hungary continue on the path that it had embarked on. He did not mention a possible point in time for reaching an agreement.

Orbán said the IMF deal struck in 2008 was "alarming", especially considering that HUF 600bn in emergency aid went to – mainly foreign-owned – banks. Pensions, wages and social benefits had to be cut as a result, he added.

He said the stability of the financial system was raised at recent talks, too, adding that he had interpreted this as a call to "give money to banks".

"But the essence of Hungarian policy is precisely that we draw in financial institutions and big corporations into sharing burdens and we don't unload the burden of the crisis on the people," he said.

The government will not accept a reduction of pensions, wages and family benefits, Orbán added.