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No parallels between Romania and Hungary

February 8th, 2012

Hungary will not follow in Romania’s footsteps– writes the number one Hungarian right wing daily after the departure of the Romanian PM.

Prime Minister Emil Boc of Romania resigned on Monday, in the wake of widespread protests against his IMF-backed austerity measures. The International Monetary Fund, which bailed out Romania in 2009 with a 20 billion Euro loan, made it conditional on deep cuts in government spending. Now the IMF, said it did not expect the deal to be affected by Boc’s departure. Hungary is about to begin talks with the IMF and the European Union on a potential credit line.

Although some analysts might try to draw parallels between the fate of the Romanian government and what lies ahead for Hungary, such parallels don’t exist in reality – István Pataky contends in Magyar Nemzet. He believes those observers are mistaken who envision impoverishment and bleak prospects for Hungary, as a consequence of a future agreement with the IMF, culminating in PM Viktor Orbán’s early departure.

To support his argument, the right wing commentator points out that Emil Boc’s government only had a slight majority in Parliament, so President Basescu’s decision to replace the PM was hardly unexpected.

Another side of the Romanian story which Pataky finds worth bearing in mind, is that the Romanian government tried to avoid looking like a puppet cabinet, and thus  refrained from blaming the IMF for the restrictions, although the Fund’s Mission Chief, Jeffrey Franks acted as a real governor.

Hungary might learn from Romania’ case, but it would be a mistake to suggest a deterrent effect,  Pataky concludes.

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