Fidesz lawmaker proposes cutting financial watchdog’s budget

Budapest, November 19 (MTI) – A deputy of the ruling Fidesz party has put forward a proposal in parliament to cut almost all funding for Hungary’s independent Budget Council, which issues regular analyses of the government’s budget plans with the aim of making it clear whether the finances over the longer term are sustainable.

Jozsef Varga, the lawmaker who put forward the proposal, said the almost all the financing for the body next year should be devoted to providing scholarships for Roma students.

    The Budget Council was established in 2008 under the former Socialist government. The body has been critical of the Fidesz-led government’s economic policies.

    Earlier the government spokeswoman Anna Nagy denied that the government intended to scrap the body.

    Ex-prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said Varga’s proposal, if enacted, would effectively shut down the body. Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Gyurcsany said the Budget Council had been set up with the agreement of Fidesz, which had then been in opposition, in order to ensure an independent institution would be able to give autonomous opinions about the budget to the electorate.

    ”The Budget Council exists precisely to warn the government to stop when there is a risk of a budget overshoot […] as it did this year,” he said.