A pro-government columnist welcomes the new budget but warns that the deficit target may not be easy to meet.
The Hungarian Parliament passed the 2013 budget on Tuesday. The bill has been amended several times since the first draft was submitted in June (See BudaPost October 19).
In Magyar Nemzet Anna Szabó calls the very existence of a new budget a step forward, bringing some hope that the EU will “finally stay away” from Hungary’s affairs. In an ironic remark to the EU Finance Commissioner who has often expressed doubts about the sustainability of Hungary’s public finances, she wishes “Olli Rehn to go on a peaceful holiday without constantly having to think about the Hungarian deficit”. On the other hand, Szabó admits that “everyone must work hard” to keep the deficit down, and the government was very wise to include an unprecedented 600 bn HUF reserve in case the European crisis drags on. Szabó calls on critics from the political opposition to present a better budget rather than objecting to individual taxes or expenditure cuts. The government has to pay for the loans taken by its predecessors, while also stimulate growth and help small businesses. “You cannot spend what you do not have” – she reminds her readers.