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Alarming alarmism

June 4th, 2011

On Thursday (2 June) rumours circulated on the internet that the government was planning to nationalize those private bank deposits which exceed 2 million forints, in order to cut the deficit. Although the rumours proved to be false,  left-wing commentators point to the first reactions as proof that people do not trust the government.

The rumours spread by e-mails and text messages about the government’s alleged plans to freeze private accounts and nationalize bank deposits were flatly denied by the government on Friday (3 June). Anna Nagy, spokesperson for the government, said the false reports had no impact on financial markets and banks reported no mass withdrawals.

“It was striking that our readers were not all confident that the rumours were false. Some could (easily) imagine that the government would consider such an option to get money”, writes Zoltán F. Baka in the left-leaning Népszabadság. The government has already introduced retroactive legislation, nationalized private pension funds, and curbed the powers of the constitutional court, he notes. “Hungarians have learnt a couple of lessons in the past year. The government has allowed itself a wider latitude than we dared to imagine.”