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PM tells co’s to take it or leave it

High taxes and social security contributions in Hungary may force businesses to move their headquarters to Slovakia, Gábor Széles, president of the Hungarian Association of Employers and Industrialists (MGyOSz) said at a meeting of the National Interest Coordination Council (OÉT) on Thursday.

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, who was present at the discussion, said "moving to Slovakia and paying taxes there will not solve our problems." Gyurcsány admitted that the corporate tax and social security contributions were lower in Slovakia, and that there was no tax on dividend payments, but argued that Slovak pensions were also about half of the Hungarian average. He added that if companies want to leave the country they are free to do so. Zoltán J. Gál, state secretary at the Prime Minister's Office, later told MTI that the government would not surrender to blackmail. "The country cannot bow to threats from organizations that say they will take their assets elsewhere to escape shared responsibilities. The government is committed to its program of targeting financial equilibrium and is calling for larger contributions from the well-off," he added. (MTI, NG 3, Vg 1, MH 1, Nb 1, MN 1, Nv 1)