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New Fiscal Council to meet primarily to discuss budget drafts

The main task of Hungary's Fiscal Council is to issue an opinion on the draft budgets planned to be submitted to parliament, and the council will meet primarily after having received the drafts, Zsigmond Járai, who was recently appointed to head the council said.

Járai spoke to MTI after the new council, the members of which include State Audit Office head László Domokos and National Bank of Hungary (MNB) governor András Simor, held its first meeting.

Council members discussed the general rules regarding the council's operation and agreed that, in line with its main duty, the council will meet primarily after receiving the draft budgets, although the head of the council could initiate meetings at other times if the need arises, Járai, who is also chairman of the MNB's supervisory board, said.

The council will publish its opinion, he added.

The legislative deadline for the government to discuss the main outlines of the following year's budget is April 15, while the deadline to discuss the draft budget is August 31. The government must submit the budget bill to parliament by September 30, and the deadline for submitting the additional tables and explanations to the budget bill is October 15. The deadlines are delayed by one month in election years.

The Fiscal Council was established by Hungary's previous government to issue opinions on fiscal policy. Originally made up of three independent economists backed by a large staff of experts, legislation amended by the country's new government stripped the Fiscal Council of its staff and nearly all of its budget, and replaced its members with the National Bank of Hungary governor, the head of the State Audit Office and an independent economist appointed by the President of the Republic.

The former Fiscal Council prepared technical macro-economic projections and published calculations on the expected budget effects of planned legislation.