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Offical talks with IMF/EU only after consultations of five-side experts group, Fellegi says

Official negotiations on a precautionary IMF/EU financial assistance package can begin only after consultations of an experts group from the five affected parties on measures ensuring the independence of the Hungarian central bank, Minister without Portfolio Tamás Fellegi, who is in charge of negotiating the assistance, told MTI's correspondent in Washington DC on Thursday.

Amending Hungary's central bank act to ensure the independence of the MNB is one of the preconditions to the start of talks between Hungary and the IMF/EU regarding financial assistance for the country.

Fellegi said that an ad hoc group, composed of legal experts from the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union (EU), the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) and Hungary's government will begin consultations on the measures soon.

With regard to the possible beginning of talks during the spring session of the International Monetary Fund, Fellegi said "It depends on how quickly and how successfully we can come to an agreement with the European Central Bank and the European Commission. It is common knowledge that we are holding talks with a troika, therefore in order for us to be able to begin talks, all three relevant parties – the central bank, the European Commission and the monetary fund – must all give the green light. . . If this happens before the beginning of the spring meeting, which will take place in Washington on April 21-22, we can already negotiate here in Washington. If not, then not."

Fellegi reiterated that the official talks have not yet begun. He added that "In my opinion there is no significant impediment to the beginning of talks from our side. The government is willing and able to satisfy those conditions that the IMF would like to see as preconditions."