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Parliamentary committee moves to establish past govts' legal responsibility for public debt

A parliamentary committee set up to investigate Hungary's public debt has approved a report at a meeting on Sunday, which moves to establish the political and legal responsibility of past governments for amassed debt.

The committee will turn to the budget and the constitutional committees asking for an opinion on whether legal responsibility can be established in this case, committee deputy chairman Peter Szijjarto, who is also the spokesman of Prime Minister Orban, said.

The need for legislation under Hungary's new constitution provides an opportunity to examine the issue of legal responsibility for the rise in government debt, the report said, referring to the 50%-of-GDP debt limit and the obligation to reduce debt in the constitution, passed in the spring and to take effect next year.

Mr Szijjarto said at the meeting that the committee found that the Hungarian Socialist Party-Alliance of Free Democrats coalition that governed Hungary from 2000 until 2010 had "committed a political crime" against the country by pursuing bad economic policies and pushing debt from 53pc of GDP in 2002 to 80pc of GDP by 2010.

The committee was set up at the initiative of the current Fidesz government to examine the reasons why Hungary's public debt grew between 2002 and 2010.

The committee took the vote on the report unanimously. The only member of the committee not belonging to the governing Fidesz or KDNP parties--that from the radical-nationalist Jobbik party--was not present. The opposition Hungarian Socialist Party and Politics Can Be Different party boycotted the committee from the start.