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Varga: Hungary can repay maturing debt next year

Hungary can repay its maturing debt next year, if conditions remain unchanged, Mihaly Varga, the country's chief negotiator in talks on a financial backstop from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, said on public television on Monday. According to our knowledge at present, if the international environment does not change, then we can certainly finance the national debt in 2013, we can still renew the maturing debt, Varga said on M1's Ma Reggel programme. He reiterated that official negotiations with the IMF/EU were not taking place at present, but added that talks were underway, mainly on whether recently introduced taxes affecting the financial sector can be withdrawn and the tax burden on the sector reduced. The IMF/EU will assess next year's budget after it is approved by Parliament, he said. Afterward, the negotiations could continue, he added. An agreement with the IMF/EU would mean greater security for the part of investors, and it could result in a lower risk premium on Hungarian state debt, resulting in savings of "several billion forints", he said. But one must see things from the other side as well; it does matter what kind of agreement we reach and which programme we accept, he added.