According to a press release put out by the Ministry of Finance, the recently set up Public Spending Review Task Force is not a sign of austerity measures to come.
The statement was published in to debunk alarmist claims and comments made by opposition media in Hungary upon the news of the Task Force being formed breaking.
The task of the new body is
to comply with a request from the European Union, as per the public statement by the Ministry.
On Tuesday, a decree published in the Hungarian Gazette called for a designated group of Finance Ministry workers to conduct a thorough review of public spending. Family and housing support programmes, the health care sector, public education, and major public spending projects will be the focus of the supervision. At least 10 per cent of the expenditures related to these programmes need to be thoroughly audited, according to the Gazette. The audit will be overseen by Finance Minister Mihály Varga.
For further clarification, the Ministry of Finance’s press release also noted that ‘the government continues to stand by its firm decision not to comply with any requests from Brussels aiming to scrap family support or the utility price cap scheme’, and added that it is only the opposition parties and the EU who want to see austerity measures enacted in Hungary.
The statement also went on to share that the government has set a target deficit of 2.9 per cent of the GDP for 2024, and that
the national debt is expected to fall to 66.7 per cent of the annual GDP next year.
The debt-to-GDP ratio is currently at 69.8 per cent. To put these figures in perspective, it is worth noting that at the end of 2022, the combined debt of the 20 countries of the Eurozone amounted to 91.6 of their combined gross domestic product. Some individual countries, such as Greece, Italy, or Spain, have a debt-to-GDP ratio which is higher than 100 per cent.