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Bank chief slams government economic policy

March 10th, 2023

Is this a war? The number one tabloid asks, referring to a statement by the President of the National Bank in Parliament on Wednesday.

In his report on the substantial loss the National Bank suffered last year as a result of its repeated interventions to stop the depreciation of the national currency, György Matolcsy accused the government of losing its way two years ago. He excoriated the government for failing to reform public education and the national health system, and for letting inflation get out of hand. 

In Blikk, Norbert L Barna remarks that this was the second time in three months that the President of the National Bank has harshly criticised government policies. He quotes Mr Matolcsy’s words that ‘Romania will soon overtake us’ (in terms of per capita GDP), as an expression of deep dissatisfaction with current economic trends in Hungary. Barna finds it highly unusual for a National Bank President to reveal the content of a remark the Prime Minister made to him in private – he quoted Mr Orbán saying that he doesn’t fix long-term goals in order not to lose his bet. Mr Matolcsy, by contrast, told Parliament that it is precisely those who don’t have plans for the forthcoming decade that will end up as losers. As for the question ‘whether this is a war’, Barna quotes the reply of economist Levente Tóth, who says ‘for the moment, there is only one warring side – Matolcsy’.

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