Britain's Margaret Thatcher provides the inspiration Hungary needs to tackle the European Union's largest budget deficit, Economy Minister János Kóka told a meeting of employers and industrialists according to a Bloomberg report.
The UK's prime minister from 1979 to 1990 “made difficult and unpopular decisions which set Great Britain on a new course of development,” Kóka said at a meeting with businessmen in Budapest today. “She broke away from the false idea of the omnipotent state and let the private economy carry the country forward. As a liberal politician, I believe in the same thing.”
Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány has already raised Hungary's taxes and cut subsidies, aiming to shrink the country's budget deficit to 3.2% of GDP in 2009 from an estimated 10.1% this year. He also plans to overhaul healthcare, pensions, education, transportation and public administration in his effort to reduce the shortfall.
Thatcher led a list of Britain's best premiers in the past 100 years compiled in August for the BBC by historian Francis Beckett. Her policies included laws to erode the power of trade unions in favor of businesses and a shift in control of state-owned industries to investors through share sales of companies including BP Plc, BT Group Plc and British Airways Plc.
Hungary has sold most of its state assets, from refiner Mol Nyrt to telco Magyar Telekom Nyrt, since the early 1990s.