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Main figures of 2012 budget must not be changed, says PM

The main figures of the government’s 2012 budget bill must not be modified, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told journalists on Monday.

The government will discuss possible changes to the budget at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Mr Orban said. Afterward, MPs of the governing party will do the same, he added.

"Not only is there no reason to change the main figures, they must not be changed. We have a clear strategy for strengthening and reinforcing the economy of which certain figures on state debt and the fiscal deficit are a part. So we don’t want to change those, we must keep them, even though growth will be smaller and the forint will be weaker than appeared in the period at the beginning of October," Mr Orban said.

Mr Orban said in a television interview at the weekend that the 2012 budget bill would have to be recalculated because of a worse outlook for economic growth and the weaker forint. He said GDP growth would be 0.5% "at most" but added that the situation was "not as bad as it looks" because the budget bill contained a significant amount of reserves.

Asked on Monday whether it was clear where to get the necessary HUF 100bn-200bn in the budget, Mr Orban answered in the affirmative. He said the question was discussed with National Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy on Sunday evening, adding that the resulting proposals would come before the government at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Asked whether measures to raise revenue or reduce expenditures could be expected, Mr Orban said the answer would come after the cabinet meeting.