The Open Budget Survey, which has a unique method for selecting the countries it evaluates, is a compilation of subjective perceptions, Minister of State for Public Finances Péter Benő Banai told public news channel M1, commenting on the survey’s conclusion placing Hungary as 57th on the fiscal transparency ranking of 115 countries.

The survey omitted several EU member states, therefore Hungary’s status is impossible to be pinpointed within the EU28, he stressed.

Hungary’s fiscal data are basically favourable; the government debt-to-GDP ratio has been declining since 2011 and the costs of the financing of the country’s debt have also been edging lower, he pointed out.

The survey is based on false assumptions; fiscal transparency was assessed by a Hungarian NGO which had been repeatedly wrong about economic predictions: for example, they had prognosticated a fiscal deficit of above 3 percent of GDP and economic recession – neither of which has materialized.

The organization claims that in Hungary three chapters of the altogether eight-chapter fiscal report – fiscal priorities, budget of citizens and the half-yearly fiscal study – have not been written. However, the Minister of State said, Hungary as an EU member state does make a Convergence Programme which includes headline figures. After that, the Government makes a budget draft which is then submitted for the State Audit Office and the Fiscal Council to formulate and publish the results of an assessment. The National Assembly then, having taken the opinions of these two bodies into account, debates and votes on the Budget Bill.

The other document which the Open Budget Survey claimed was non-existent, the budget of citizens which shows the expected expenditures and revenues, can be found in the Budget Justification, the Minister of State said.

Speaking of the supposedly unavailable half-yearly fiscal reports, the Minister of State said in Hungary there were regularly published monthly reports, which also summarized major fiscal trends.

The maker of the survey, International Budget Partnership, has the Open Society Institute among its sponsors, it also has political connections and this explains why Hungary has been shown in such a negative light.

Péter Benő Banai emphasised that Hungary’s public finances were stable, the deficit of the state budget was below 2 percent of GDP, the costs of the financing of state debt had been declining, and all these factors were recognized by large investors and credit rating institutions alike. Financial investors do not take biased opinions into consideration, and the opinion of institutions of international renown fundamentally differs from the views expressed in the survey, he concluded.

(Ministry for National Economy)