Orban: Spending freeze precautionary measure

orbanThe HUF 110bn spending freeze announced on Thursday is a precautionary measure, the prime minister said in a radio interview.Speaking to public Kossuth Radio, Viktor Orban said that the economy minister, Mihaly Varga, had made the proposal to freeze spending in order to ensure this year’s 2.9pc of GDP deficit target can be met. He said that whereas the deficit target would be kept, the shortfall would be on the margins of the 3pc of GDP required by European Union rules, and in such cases it is correct to make it “clear to the country and the world” that the Hungarian government is doing everything possible to stick to the target. He said the significance of this is that Hungary must continually raise money on the market in order to service its expiring debt, and it is not neither here nor there what conditions are attached. The interest rate is influenced by how stable creditors regard the budget, he added. “I think there’s no need for the freeze but these are emergency and precautionary measures,” he said. On the subject of health care, Mr Orban said the network of general practices is not strong enough, and if the problems of hospitals are to be solved then family doctors working amid straitened circumstances must be strengthened, he said. Speaking about the programme of the new president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, Mr Orban said he and Mr Juncker agreed on some of the programme’s ten points and they would hold dialogue on the others. He said he had agreed with Mr Juncker that before the new European Commission starts its work, they would have a meeting to appraise the disputes between the EU and Hungary. Among them are the land law, foreign-currency loans, cheap energy, cuts to utility fees, taxes on multinationals and banks, Mr Orban added.