MNB governor offers to donate salary to clear up dispute

EU

National Bank of Hungary (MNB) governor András Simor on Friday said he would donate his entire salary, with the exception of a single, token forint, to needy economics students. The move is intended to support the resolution of a legal dispute between the government and the European Union over the remuneration of the central bank's management.

Simor said on the MNB's website that he had taken the decision to prevent the dispute over his salary from presenting an obstacle to talks on precautionary financial assistance for Hungary from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

Simor informed Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of the decision in a letter published on the MNB website.

He asked Parliament in the letter to support amendments to the Central Bank Act regarding the salaries of central bank decision makers "to reinstate legality of the regulations in line with the principle of central bank independence".

Simor said he would donate his salary with retroactive effect from September 2010, when the legislation under scrutiny took effect, until his term expires in March of next year.

The European Commission recently launched an infringement procedure against Hungary over changes to rules governing the MNB over concerns about the central bank's independence. Official talks on financial assistance from the IMF and EU will start only after these concerns are cleared up, officials from the international organizations have said.

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