Muddling through deficit troubles
Hungary's economy is growing well, with relatively low unemployment and high foreign direct investment. But the government budget deficit is running far above EU criteria and there are divided counsels on how to control it.
A BATTLE HAS broken out for control of Hungary's monetary policy. The prime minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany (pictured), and the finance ministry want to lower interest rates and work towards a weaker currency to boost growth; the central bank, the National Bank of Hungary, wants to maintain a tight monetary policy to control inflation and help reduce a gaping hole in public finances. The battle involves the nomination of candidates to Hungary's monetary council, which makes key decisions on interest rates, among other things. Gyurcsany has been lobbying with little luck for more than two years to get individuals sympathetic to his views on the council.