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Hungary: FinMin challenges opposition leaders to reveal which parts of budget they would cut

Parliament

Finance Minister János Veres challenged opposition leaders at a conference on Monday to reveal which area of the budget they would cut as part of an alternative plan to the government’s convergence program to bring Hungary closer to adopting the euro.

Of the current Ft 13,559 billion in budget expenditures, 61% goes toward social support, 13% to cover the operating costs of the state and 8.2% is used for interest expenditures, Veres said, speaking at a conference in Budapest organized by the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum and International Center for Economic Growth European Center (ICEG). If anybody wants changes, they will have to say which part of budget expenditures ought to be cut, he said.

Mihály Varga, former finance minister and deputy head of Fidesz, the largest opposition party, said the goal of the government’s economic policy could be to create a consensus on Hungary’s preparations to join the eurozone. Veres noted, that yields on Hungarian state securities have risen 150-200bp as the result of a referendum in March in which Hungarians firmly rejected several key government reform measures. This will raise interest expenditures tens of billions of forints in 2008 and as much as Ft 100 billion in 2009, he said. (MTI-Econews)

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