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After court ruling MNB vows to provide data

Issues

After Hungary’s Constitutional Court on March 31 struck down legislation that would have allowed the foundations of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) to spend public money without disclosing how that money is spent, MNB deputy governor Márton Nagy said the central bank respects the decision and foundations set up by the bank will provide all data requested, according to reports.

MNB deputy governor Márton Nagy at a press conference on March 9. (Photo: MTI/Tamás Kovács)

Speaking on Hungarian state-owned Kossuth radio yesterday, Nagy said that foundations operated by the central bank will move towards a more transparent operation fully independent from the central bank, and that they will have every tool to decide on how to ensure this transparency, Hungarian news agency MTI reported. 

The court ruled on Thursday that legislation allowing the bank to classify the way its foundations spend public money was against the Constitution because public spending must be transparent. The court further ruled that the legislation was against the Constitution because it would have made the finances of the foundations secret with a retroactive effect, according to reports. The legislation to classify central bank spending was pushed through Parliament on March 1 in an expedited procedure after a journalist sued to gain access to details of the spending by the MNBʼs Pallas Athene Domus Animae Foundation (PADA).

In a rare break with the wishes of the government that appointed him, Hungarian President János Áder on March 9 declined to sign that legislation, as well as a measure to make the operations of the Hungarian Post Office confidential.

Hungary’s Supreme Court ruled on March 30 that the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) must release data on all tenders managed by PADA up to the date of the data request by journalist Károly Csabai.

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