Tuesday

1st Dec 2020

Brussels endorses Hungary's deficit cut plans

The European Commission on Tuesday (26 September) backed Hungary's programme of austerity measures to try and get its economy back on track, but said that it wants "rigorous implementation" of the plans.

"After repeatedly warning about large budgetary slippages, the commission takes note of the commitment by the Hungarian government to bring its public finances back on a sound footing," EU monetary affairs commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.

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  • Hungary must get its budget deficit in order by 2009, says the European Commission (Photo: European Commission Audiovisual Library)

"We will continue to closely monitor the situation to verify that the announced measures are fully implemented and that the government decisively carries out its agenda for structural reform and expenditure control," he added.

But despite the tough words, Brussels extended a deadline by one year for Budapest to bring its finances in order.

Hungary now has until 2009 to bring its budget deficit down from 10.1 per cent of GDP to the three percent threshold allowed under EU rules.

The Brussels endorsement comes as prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany struggles to keep his government afloat, after provoking riots earlier this month when he admitted that he had lied about the state of the country's finances in order to get re-elected.

Polish media report just 2,000 people came out on the streets of Budapest on Tuesday night to call for his resignation, compared to the 20,000 protestors at the height of the demonstrations a few days ago.

But opposition activists continue to hand out white ribbons in an attempt to keep the so-called "white revolution" going, with local elections this weekend set to test the country's confidence in the ruling elite.

Germany asks capitals to give a little in EU budget impasse

European Parliament negotiators are demanding €39bn in new funding for EU programmes such as Horizon research and Erasmus, in talks with the German EU presidency on the budget. Meanwhile, rule-of-law enforcement negotiations have only just begun.

EU budget talks suspended in fight for new funds

MEPs are requesting additional, new funding of €39bn for 15 EU programs. The German presidency argues that budget ceilings, agreed by EU leaders at a marathon summit in July, will be impossible to change without a new leaders' meeting.

EU countries stuck on rule of law-budget link

Divisions among EU governments remain between those who want to suspend EU funds if rule of law is not respected, and those who want to narrow down conditionality.

MEPs warn of 'significant gaps' in budget talks

The budget committee chair said the European Parliament expects tangible improvements to the package in its talks with member states - while the German minister argued that the EU leaders' deal was difficult enough.

Top EU officials urge MEPs give quick budget-deal approval

MEPs criticised the EU deal on the budget and recovery package clinched by leaders after five days of gruelling talks, saying it is not enough "future-oriented", and cuts too deeply into EU policies, including health, innovation, defence and humanitarian aid

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