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End of excessive deficit procedure in sight?

February 1st, 2013

The two leading dailies carry diametrically opposing assessments of the results of PM Viktor Orbán’s visit to Brussels.

In its front page editorial, Népszabadság deems the Prime Minister’s claim that the EU must waive Hungary’s close monitoring preposterous. When Mr Orbán said that it is a moral issue for Hungary not to remain under an excessive deficit procedure, Népszabadság argues, he means that it would be immoral for the European Commission to decide otherwise. The left-wing daily concludes that Viktor Orbán wants to define the rules of the game himself, although he was publicly told by Commission Chairman Manuel Barroso that “even the best football players need a good referee”.

In Magyar Nemzet, Tamás Nánási thinks on the contrary, that earlier tensions have evaporated from the gestures of the two partners, and “the tone of the talks was almost friendly”. The Commission acknowledges that Hungary has managed to keep its public deficit under the 3 per cent threshold, and the favourable trends “may be crowned if the excessive deficit procedure will be terminated, which can happen on March 13”. Meanwhile, Nánási suggests that the government should “tiptoe over the forthcoming days” and be extremely cautious. He thinks one sign of that kind of prudence is the Prime Minister’s announcement that he will not name his nominee for the presidency of the National Bank until the very last day.

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