The International Monetary Fund still has not set a date to continue talks on an EU/IMF programme for Hungary, that is, for a visit of the IMF team to Budapest, director of external relations at the IMF Gerry Rice said at a press briefing in Washington on Thursday.
Answering questions from MTI and others relating to Hungary’s Prime Minister recently rejecting alleged conditions of IMF for a financial backstop, Mr Rice said that it was premature at this stage to discuss conditions and added that the IMF was aiming to be as helpful and constructive as possible.
Mr Rice confirmed that the dialogue with the Hungarian authorities was continuing.
In broader terms, concerning questions on the content of talks, the director referred back to an IMF release which summarised the first, get-to-know meetings of IMF with their Hungarian hosts late July.
In that statement the IMF Mission to Hungary said that “the authorities’ commitment to the fiscal targets under the revised Convergence Plan in 2012-13 is welcome. However, greater focus should be placed on achieving a more balanced fiscal consolidation, shifting away from ad hoc tax measures towards streamlining public expenditures, while ensuring adequate support to vulnerable groups. A smaller and more efficient state with strong and predictable policies would create better conditions for private-sector led growth, and reduce the tax burden over time. For 2013, additional measures will be necessary to secure the government’s deficit target, and put public debt firmly on a downward path”.
Hungary requested a precautionary package from the EU and the IMF last November. In early July, Mr Rice indicated that the IMF would negotiate with Hungary on a Standby Agreement while it was aware and accepted that the Hungarian government wanted to treat the Standby Agreement as precautionary.