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Orbán lashes out at EU's Almunia

The EU this week backed Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány’s program to control Europe's widest budget shortfall. Almunia called the measures necessary, though warned there was substantial risk the government won't enforce them. „I wish for this gentleman to move here for a bit, live off Hungarian wages, be in the situation of an average Hungarian family,” Orbán said on state television yesterday. „I could have great ideas from Brussels, with an EU commissioner's salary about what Hungarians should do, how to skin them.” Gyurcsány, under fire from protesters and opposition to resign after a tape leaked to media revealed he lied about the economy, is raising taxes and cutting subsidies to tame the deficit.

Orbán, Hungary's premier from 1998 to 2002, said Almunia overstepped his authority by saying the government's plan was needed. Investors were also mistaken when they portrayed Gyurcsány as a key to fixing problems in the Hungarian economy, he added. Fitch Ratings and Moody's have both cut their outlook on the country's debt rating on concern the government would be weakened. „Investors want to get their profits and what they need for this is as little democratic noises as possible,” Orbán said. „The premier himself is the biggest obstacle of stability. The western businessmen will realize this sooner or later.” Orbán is among the people urging Gyurcsány to resign. He also said the austerity measures should be reversed. His Fidesz Party framed the October 1 municipal election as a referendum on Gyurcsány and his program, saying a caretaker government should be formed and a new general election called if governing parties lose the vote. (Bloomberg)