Varga committed to starting IMF talks as soon as possible

Budapest, May 11 (MTI) – Hungary’s newly appointed IMF chief negotiator Mihaly Varga said on Friday that he was committed to start the official talks on financial assistance as soon as possible.

“As the future chief negotiator appointed by the Hungarian government, I will make every effort to start the talks as soon as possible,” he said.


Varga will take over the post from Tamas Fellegi on June 1.


He added that in the next few days, he will hold consultations with the outgoing minister about the transfer of tasks and also with Janos Lazar who will take over Varga’s current post as prime ministerial state secretary.


Varga said on Monday Hungary would be seeking a 15-billion-euro precautionary loan over three years to stabilise the economy.


Senior analyst at the Royal Bank of Scotland Timothy Ash said in a report on Friday that “Varga is an economic and political heavyweight with the ear of Orban. He served as finance minister previously and is well regarded in financial circles. […] This move suggests that the Orban administration is moving into gear to begin talks with the IMF.”


Ash said talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) an the EU could start in June, but will not finish before the end of the summer.


Ash said he could not rule out that the government would issue euro bonds still during talks with lenders.


JP Morgan analysts projected that Hungary would draw on the precautionary loan once it is sealed and not finance its sovereign debt completely from markets.


They predicted Hungary’s talks with the IMF would be “eventful” but an agreement could be reached in the third quarter.