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Start of IMF/EU talks "a matter of checking diaries", Varga says

Both the European Union and the European Central Bank are satisfied with the amendments of the central bank act passed by Parliament on Friday, and, since the International Monetary Fund holds the same opinion, "it is now only a matter of checking diaries" when the talks can begin, the government's chief negotiator for the IMF/EU talks on financial assistance Mihály Varga told MTI on Friday.

This could happen by the end of July and agreement could be reached by the end of October the latest, he said.

In a letter sent this week European Union commissioner for economic and monetary policy affairs Olli Rehn said that the European Commission has no objection to start negotiations once the central bank amendments were adopted, Varga said.

The ECB, which had reservations regarding the original amendments proposed by the government, said last week that the new amendments address most of its concern regarding central bank independence, Varga said.

Earlier last week, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said that the Hungarian government's new amendments, together with the commitments on not appointing a third deputy central bank governor or a new Monetary Council member, fully satisfy the Fund's expectations, and once adopted by parliament, official negotiations on a financial assistance program can start.