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PM says govt agrees with some EU points on Central Bank law

The government agrees with some of the European Union’s legal viewpoints regarding Hungary’s Central Bank Law and sees no obstacle to accept them, but the positions of the government and the EU with regard to the new law are far apart in some other respects, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on a radio programme on Friday morning.

Mr Orban remarked on the programme that the European Union’s excess-deficit procedure against Hungary is warranted for the past, but not for the future, noting that the country’s budget deficit declined rapidly in 2010 and 2011. The prime minister added that the government had reduced the deficit "undoubtedly not with such measures as the European Commission would have liked - they wanted traditional austerity measures."

Mr Orban said that the government would discontinue the measures in question at the beginning of next year and introduce major structural reforms to the economy.

The prime minister said that as 20-21 fellow EU member states have higher deficits, "under the circumstances it is comical" that the European Union is implementing excessive-deficit procedures against Hungary.

With regard to possible financial assistance package from the International Monetary Fund, Mr Orban said that Hungary needs such assistance so that it can focus on the issue of economic growth rather than that of financial instability.

The IMF talks will be about one question, about the economy policy necessary for Hungary to pay back any loan drawn. That requires a low fiscal deficit and declining state debt which are there in Hungary, the PM said, adding that the long-term changes expected (by the fund) are also in the interest of the country.

"Only such an agreement is conceivable that serves the interests of the Hungarian economy, the IMF has no an interest of its own, distinct from that of the Hungarian economy at the talks", the prime minister said.