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Sep 03, 2018

FM: The next EU budget should be negotiated with the new commission

Mihály Varga has said the next EU budget should be negotiated with the new commission that comes into power in 2019

Hungary's finance minister has said the next EU budget should be negotiated with the new commission that comes into power in 2019.

In an interview with Origo.hu, Mihály Varga said a new commission will take office after next year’s European parliamentary elections, whose president will likely be someone other than Jean-Claude Juncker.

The minister added that the next commission will have to be granted the right to prepare the budget that will be in effect during its own term.

Minister Varga called the current situation around the EU budget a “strange” one, arguing that the incumbent commission was trying to “force through” a budget that it will not even have the power to implement.

“I think it’s very likely that the new budget will be prepared by the next European Commission,” Minister Varga said, adding that the new budget should be drawn up on the basis of the EU’s “old” fundamental values. Economic development should be targeted at areas that are still behind, he argued.

“There’s a kind of quiet, internal war going on,” the minister said. “This is what’s really behind the debates around the directive on posted worker rules and the pillar of social rights, and the draft budget for the next funding period falls into this line as well. The draft would take [funds] away from central and eastern Europe and divert them to the Mediterranean countries,” Minister Varga added.

The minister said the fact that the European Commission has prepared a pro-migration draft budget which would take money away from European people while providing extra to migrants and for their admission is especially unacceptable. “It’s a bad proposal and it generates bad debates,” he said.

In regards to the budget, the minister said Hungary’s second quarter GDP growth rate was a positive surprise “which puts us on the podium in the EU”.

Minister Varga said it was realistic to expect a growth rate of more than 4 percent for the full year after a 4.5 percent growth rate in Q1 and last quarter’s 4.6 percent growth. The finance ministry stands by its full-year deficit target of 2.4 percent of GDP, he added.