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Opposition politicians accused of misleading IMF mission

July 27th, 2012

A pro-government columnist berates the IMF for consulting with people affiliated to opposition parties.

In Magyar Nemzet, Anna Szabo wonders how the IMF delegation could find time for people whose opinions are “markedly anti-government”, while ordinary citizens such as herself did not have access to the delegation. Is this not in contradiction with the IMF charter? – she asks. The delegates of the LMP and MSZP  to the Supervisory Board of the Hungarian National Bank (MNB) – Péter Róna and Tamás Katona – managed to squeeze their “protest audience” into the busy schedule of the delegation . This was, Szabó says, a deliberately planned attempt to throw mud at the government in the name of the MNB. The move is entirely illegal, she argues, as the Supervisory Board has no authority to make political statements as the “deserters” have done. “Other friends of Hungary” also managed to sneak into the negotiating room, including the representative of the EU in Hungary, Tamás Szűcs, and András Simor, president of the MNB, who was appointed by the former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány.  It is, however, the intervention of Róna and Katona that “gives an entirely new dimension to patriotism”, she adds. They argue that the annual budget of the MNB is 11,5 billion HUF, while the government expects a revenue of 120 billion HUF from the transaction tax, she notes. But the transaction tax has nothing to do with the budget of the MNB – it applies to the deposits held by the bank, she argues, such as overnight loans of commercial banks or two-week bonds with pleasantly high and safe interest rates, the value of which amounts to 4000 billion HUF a year. There is no other resource for further government revenues, she suggests, and concludes with a rhetorical question: “Who will explain all this to the IMF?”