“The value of state assets has increased significantly to total 6093 billion forints (EUR 17.98 billion) by the end of 2018, while sovereign debt is getting smaller year by year”, Minister of Finance Mihály Varga explained on Kossuth Radio’s “Sunday Paper” show.

The Minister pointed out that there is continuous debate on Hungarian economic policy, essentially concerning what elements contribute to growth. “The voices claiming that it is only EU funding that is leading to the growth of the Hungarian economy are beginning to quiet down”, he added. “If this were true, then every country in the Central and Eastern European region would probably be producing a similar level of economic growth. In contrast, Poland’s economy grew by a little over 4 percent last year and those of Slovakia and the Czech Republic grew by around 2 to 2.5 percent, while the Hungarian economy grew by over 5 percent”, Mr. Varga stated.

“The other position is usually that that the government is squandering state assets, so to speak, or increasing sovereign debt. This is also very easy to refute in view of the fact that it is clearly visible that the volume of sovereign debt has been decreasing year-by-year”, he highlighted, adding: We would also like to prove that the state is managing the assets that have been entrusted to it in the manner of a “good administrator”.

“So, we have not gone into debt and we have not taken on loans, while we are applying (…) EU funding effectively, (…) and have also been able to increase state assets”, he declared.

“The starting point of the Hungarian economic model remains unchanged since 2010: firstly, more and more jobs are required, and secondly, to reduce government debt”, he emphasised. The Minister added that over 800 thousand more people are now working in Hungary than in 2010, and in recent years we have succeeded in reducing sovereign debt from 83 percent of the gross national product to somewhere around 68 percent, based on the preliminary data.

“This must be continued, and we must develop an ‘economic mix’ with which we can simultaneously reduce sovereign debt, realise the most important development projects, and further improve competitiveness through tax cuts”, the Finance Minister highlighted.

Mr. Varga drew attention to the fact that major state investments and development projects have also contributed to the increase in assets, and important strategic asset elements have been returned to state ownership. He cited as an example Hungarian oil company MOL, pointing out that in mid-2010 the state had succeeded in reacquiring a share in the company.

He explained that 62 percent of all state assets are in the form of real estate, 21 percent in various ownership shares (e.g. in corporations), while the remaining part is made up of various moveable assets and machinery.