Fellegi quits as minister to focus on IMF talks

Parliament

Hungary’s National Development Minister Tamas Fellegi on Thursday announced he submitted his resignation to focus on talks with the IMF.

Mr Fellegi said he was resigning because of the multitude of his tasks.

Mr Fellegi was recently named the government’s representative at the talks with the IMF and EU. Hungary declared in November its intention to seek financial assistance from the IMF and EU as a precautionary measure.

"At the moment, an agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission is the only thing that can provide assurances. It is a prerequisite for keeping Hungary’s financing from the markets from becoming impossible," Mr Fellegi said.

Mr Fellegi said he would meet for high-level talks with representatives of the IMF and EU next week but that the official negotiations would start only in January. He added that he would also meet in London with representatives of all three of the big credit rating agencies as well as consult with big investors. A meeting with finance leaders in the British government is also expected, he added.

Mr Fellegi said he met on Wednesday with Iryna Ivaschenko, the IMF’s representative in Hungary, to discuss the possible schedule for the talks. He said he would meet in Budapest next week with Christoph Rosenberg and Barbara Kaufmann, the chief negotiators for the IMF and EU, respectively.

Mr Fellegi said he asked the prime minister on Wednesday to present his resignation to the president.

Government spokesman Andras Giro-Szasz said Prime Minister Viktor Orban would consult with Mr Fellegi when he returns from abroad on the grounds for his resignation. If Mr Orban accepts the resignation, he will decide on a replacement, he added.

Mr Fellegi said the representative from the National Bank of Hungary in Hungary’s delegation at the talks with the IMF and EU would be deputy governor Ferenc Karvalits.

Earlier it was announced that Antal Rogan, the chairman of Parliament’s economy committee, and Gyula Pleschinger, state secretary for financial policy, would also be part of the delegation.

Mr Fellegi said his tasks as the head of the delegation, in addition to carrying on the talks, would involve establishing a negotiating position, presenting it to the government, coordinating support work for the talks, initiating any necessary government decisions, and keeping EU and IMF institutions as well as credit rating agencies informed on Hungary’s stand.

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