Finance Minister Mihaly Varga – Photo: MTI

Finance Minister: Spanish EU presidency changes economic rules ‘in line with Hungary’s interests’

The Spanish presidency has amended the draft of the European Union's economic governance reform "to suit Hungary's interests", the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry quoted Finance Minister Mihaly Varga after an online ECOFIN meeting as saying that the changes “reflect the government’s extremely strong position to promote its interests”.

Participants in the meeting agreed on the need of a financial reform to govern the budgets of member states saying that “after a pandemic and in the vicinity of war the EU must meet challenges around high debt levels and investments”, Varga said. He noted a long-standing debate around the reform, with “some countries demanding more stringent, while others more flexible rules”. The Hungarian government wants to see a “well-considered system acceptable for all members”, he said, adding that the Spanish presidency’s draft would meet “all expectations”.

Hungary has always taken the stand that in the area of fiscal policy national governments’ room for manoeuvre, not the European Commission’s, must be increased, Varga said.

“We have managed to secure that … the adopted draft will strengthen the roles of member states and the Council as opposed to that of the EC,” he said.

Hungary’s proposal to account for additional defence expenditures when calculating Maastricht deficit levels has also been included in the draft, Varga said.

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