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Hungarian report Hungarian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-06-22 07:57:07
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Hungary PM to announce world record state debt cut today

Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, is to make a statement today expectedly at 14:00 CET, the PM’s office said in an email. Orbán told public radio MR1 today morning that the announcement will be about "a reduction of public debt of world record size in a single step."

There will be an unusual government meeting today, and an announcement will be made about a reduction of public debt of world record size in a single step, the radio cited Orbán as saying. He added that another large tax cut programme would be announced in early autumn.

"With the measures to be announced at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting state debt will decrease by HUF 1,345 billion to 77% of gross domestic product from 81%," the Premier said. He added that "the government will use the funds stemming from the overhaul of the private pension fund regime to lower public debt."


National Bank of Hungary keeps key rate on hold at 6.00%

The National Bank of Hungary's Monetary Council decided to leave the central bank's key rate on hold at 6.00pc at a meeting on Monday. The decision was in line with market expectations. Rate-setters left the key rate unchanged for the fifth month in a row following a tightening cycle started last November. At a press conference after the meeting, NBH governor András Simor said the proposal to keep rates on hold was the only one made and the vote was unanimous.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the Monetary Council said inflation could fall to the 3% "price stability" target by the end of 2012 without further monetary tightening, in spite of price shocks, because of the slow and gradual pickup in domestic demand. In the Council's assessment, the economy could continue to recover in the coming two years, but output will remain under potential until the end of the period. "Meeting the inflation target at the end of 2012 may require keeping the current interest level for a protracted period of time," the Council said. Asked to better define "protracted" at the press conference, Simor said he was not authorized to say.

The continued rise in raw material prices is showing up in core inflation in the short term. But weak domestic demand and high unemployment is having a restraining effect on price and wage decisions, the Council said. Although the payout of real yields on private pension assets could lift household consumption temporarily, employment is growing at a slow pace and measures to improve the fiscal balance could reduce households' disposable income, the rate-setters said. Private investments have been hit by the low domestic demand, strict lending conditions and sectoral taxes, the added. The limited effect of concerns about state debt in countries on the periphery of the eurozone can be seen as favourable, the Council said. The welcome reception of Hungary's Convergence Programme on global markets and the forint's interest premium may have also contributed to the relative stability, it added.


Hope for Hungary

In the heart of a former Soviet Union military base, a group of BYU dancers and musicians shared their message of peace, unity and hope last week. Hungary, the first to split the Iron Curtain along with Poland in 1989, has enjoyed a relatively short period of democracy. The military base is indicative of the continued presence of this painful legacy. However, ever-resilient Hungarians have created beauty out of what was once horrific. One such place is the Elizabeth Park Theatre, which is part of the Corvin Community Centre.  This performing arts venue is a drastic departure from its dark origins. The BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble performed in this venue Thursday to a sold-out audience during its tour of European countries. This performance displayed greater depth because of the preparation of those BYU students performing. Not only did they put countless hours into practicing, but they also attended a culture class before they left the United States.

They were able to utilize their knowledge while visiting several locations discussed in their culture class: the Rock Chapel, the Liberation Monument and the famed Hungarian thermal baths. In one of the more poignant stops on the tour the group visited the House of Terror, located in Budapest. This museum features exhibits detailing events from Hungary during Nazi, Arrow Cross and AVH rule. BYU students somberly passed from room to room, pausing every so often to listen to former Hungarian radio broadcasts on black rotary phones, view clips in a documentary about life in the Gulag or read subtitles on a documentary of former Hungarian prisoners.

In light of this visit, Alina Geslison, fiddler for the band, said she was impressed by the fact the dancers have been able to tour this country, which would not have been possible during Soviet times.  Because of the progress that has occurred since the early 1990s, Geslison and others had the opportunity to further the healing for those who live in a country that still bears prominent scars from recent communism. “What we’re doing is bringing something that is a joy in our lives to the people here,” Geslison said. That the audience received the joy was evident in its unison clapping at the end of each piece, which is the equivalent of a standing ovation in other areas of the world. The audience’s delight was in sharp contrast to the details rehashed in the Terror Museum. One of the exhibition rooms is dedicated solely to the effects of Nazism and communism on religion. An informational pamphlet dispersed at the museum discusses the government’s intentional replacement of God with political and other leaders. Members of churches throughout Hungary were oppressed and persecuted and their leaders jailed, intimidated into retirement or forced to leave the country.

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