PM Orban prepares Fidesz lawmakers for tough year ahead – spokes

Budapest, February 10 (MTI) – Prime Minister Viktor Orban has told ruling Fidesz and Christian Democrat lawmakers in Siofok, Lake Balaton, that 2011 would be a tough year since global economic uncertainty presented many dangers.

Orban noted that the European Union member states were putting in place preparations for a new wave of global economic challenges. He said that Hungary should follow suit, and this is why he accepted Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy’s proposal to set up a stability fund, spokesman Peter Szijjarto told MTI late on Wednesday, citing the prime minister.

    Matolcsy’s plan is to create a 250 billion forint (EUR 930m) stability reserve fund from 2011 budget monies to form a buffer against external shocks and ensure that the budget stays on track without any modifications.

    Hungary has agreed with the EU to push its budget deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product this year, and Orban has vowed to tackle Hungary’s outsized state debt. Later this month, the government will unveil a fiscal improvement package — a mix of spending cuts and revenue-boosting measures –which is expected to be in the region of 660 billion forints up to 2014.

    Among the government’s plans, Orban mentioned constitutional reorganisation, cutting government debt, increasing the efficiency of health care and education and creating jobs by launching public work programmes, his spokesman said.

    Orban announced that the government would present its related plans to the Fidesz and Christian Democrat lawmakers within ten days.

    The prime minister confirmed the plan to enact Hungary’s constitution  by April and Parliament should discuss the related laws requiring a two-thirds majority later this year.

    Assessing the past year, Orban said that his government had taken over a country balancing on the verge of bankruptcy and had had to take resolute measures, including the introduction of banking and crisis taxes and efforts to save the pension system. Due to these measures, the country had got back on its feet and managed to avoid “the austerity measures dictated by the International Monetary Fund”.

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