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Parliament passes amendments to Gen Gov't Act

Hungary's parliament passed by a 304:60 vote and one abstention amendments to the General Government Act on Monday. The independent Fiscal Council recommended that the amendments not be approved on the grounds that they were either unnecessary or would weaken budget transparency.

One of the amendments would require a budget amendment if expenditures deviate by 2.5% or more from the target. A supplementary budget would be required if expenditures deviate 5% or more from the target.

The new rules are looser than the previous rules, under which a supplementary budget must be prepared if the primary balance deteriorates from the target by 0.2% of GDP or more.

Another amendment would move the deadline to submit the main outline of the following year's budget to Parliament to June 30 in election years, instead of April 15, and it would allow any newly elected government to submit the budget bill by October 15, instead of August 31, the deadline in non-election years.

The deadline for submitting the additional tables and explanations to the budget bill would be moved from October 15 to November 15 in election years.

The third amendment will eliminate the obligation to account the eventual losses of state-owned companies as part of the general government deficit.

The amendments are to take effect three days after publication.

The changes are effectively reverting legislation with regard to the above items to that in effect preceding the enactment of the law on budget responsibility passed by the previous parliament at the end of 2008. The Fidesz MPs who proposed the amendments said that the new legislation placed unnecessary limits on a government just taking office. (MTI-ECONEWS)