Josef hírek

2012.01.07. 22:04

Hungary PM sees good chance for fast conclusion of IMF talks

Budapest, January 6 (MTI) - The Hungarian government has made every possible effort to start and close talks with the IMF and the EU at the soonest possible, and there is good chance this can be achieved, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told a press conference on Friday.

Budapest, January 6 (MTI) - The Hungarian government has made every possible effort to start and close talks with the IMF and the EU at the soonest possible, and there is good chance this can be achieved, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told a press conference on Friday.

Orban held a meeting in his office with Governor of the National Bank of Hungary (NBH) Andras Simor, Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy, chief negotiator at talks with the IMF Tamas Fellegi and head of the Prime Minister s Office Mihaly Varga.

 

Orban said he and Simor were in agreement that in the interest of the Hungarian economy talks should be concluded fast.

 

Orban said the economy ministry and the central bank would hold daily consultations in order to help restore confidence in the forint. The government supports the central bank and its governor in the interest of maintaining the value of the forint and safeguarding the financial system s stability, he added.

 

The prime minister said he had asked the NBH to contribute to the drafting of Hungary s growth plan.

 

The government s economic policy aims to start up growth, and for this a firm financing of the country is necessary, he said. Orban said he asked Simor to consider the tools the central banks of the EU, the US and the UK use to stimulate growth and to make proposals for similar methods to be used in Hungary. Simor said he would do this.

 

Orban said the government had given Fellegi a mandate to start negotiations and conclude an agreement without further consultations.

 

"Fellegi will be holding preparatory talks in Washington and we are waiting for the IMF to release a mandate for negotiations," Orban said. Fellegi has scheduled talks with the European Central Bank and a date is being fixed with the EU, he added.

 

The agreement is important because "if we have the safety net, we can concentrate all our efforts again on starting up growth," Orban said.

 

Orban said the NBH s foreign currency reserves were not discussed at the meeting "because the government considers central bank independence a starting point." He added that the disputed Central Bank Act itself declares central bank independence.

 

"The National Bank of Hungary has exclusive disposition over the foreign currency reserves managed there," he told journalists.

 

"I can t say anything about people s money because the government has nothing to do with it. Depositors money is depositors money, the government doesn t even deal with that question," he added.

 

There is a debate over the Central Bank Act, which Hungary intends to settle with the European Commission "in a manner usual in the European Union". The government s position is that the new central bank law strengthens central bank independence, he said.

 

"We have adopted 13 and a half of 15 recommendations by the ECB, which could easily be a European record, and we continue to be cooperative," Orban said.

 

Hungary is seeking a precautionary standby agreement with the IMF and the EU, and Fellegi is set to leave for negotiations in Washington on Saturday.

 

Fellegi said earlier the government was seeking a fast agreement and would enter negotiations without precautions and no topic was off-limits.

 

The forint firmed to 316.12 at 9am as Orban s meeting with Simor started, after hitting an all-time low of 324.27 on Thursday.

 

The opposition Socialist party called the statements made after the meeting "meaningless", reflecting the "government s desperate efforts to pretend that there was consent."

 

Radical nationalist Jobbik said the government had yielded to pressure and carried out what the international speculators and the Socialists and the greens expected from it to do.

 

Jobbik MP Daniel Karpat Z said the government had given up the country s remaining economic sovereignty, pursuing a policy that can only postpone but not prevent collapse.

 

The green party LMP welcomed that, after a long while, the leaders of the government and the central bank met for consultations.

 

LMP s parliamentary leader Andras Schiffer, however, warned that the meeting would firm the forint to the euro only in the short term. To achieve the forint s long-term stability and restore Hungary s credibility, the government should radically change its economic policy, he said.

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