Vice President of the ruling Fidesz party gives it to the IMF
Thursday, 20 October 2011 09:52
A delegation of International Monetary Fund experts is currently assisting Hungarian authorities not because they were invited, but because they wanted to come, said Lajos Kósa, Vice President of the ruling Fidesz party. He said the IMF’s resident representative is "so unfamiliar with the Hungarian situation" that consulting would be futile. Local daily Népszabadság reported last week that a delegation from IMF is currently in Hungary, as the government has asked for the international lender's assitance to overhaul the municipal system.
It was not the government that invited a group of IMF experts to Hungary, they "came on their own", Kósa told public television on Monday morning. "[...] they asked for an appointment and we have given one," he added.
Kósa’s remark saying that the IMF was not invited, it "just came" to Hungary is more than strange in view of the fact that the IMF itself also confirmed last week’s report that it is providing local authorities technical assistance. And the National Economy Ministry also said in a statement - instead of the previously adopted chilly tone - that "in the area of fiscal policies the IMF... is in possession of a highly valuable knowledge base, which Hungary as a member state draws on, similarly to other member states."
Kósa was the one that said in June 2010 that Hungary was close to collapse and was daunting with Greece, spooking markets and sending the forint on a downward spiral. He said today the government is in between a rock and a hard place with regard to the IMF, which helped bail the country out in late 2008. "[...] if we [the cabinet] choose not to talk with them [the IMF]" then we get slammed for "being such a prat that we wouldn’t even talk with them". In Kósa’s view asking for a new credit facility from the IMF "is not realistic" and the government "does not plan doing so either". "If we chose this we would drift deeper into what we are trying to get out of," he added. He added that the IMF’s resident representative, Iryna Ivaschenko "is so unfamiliar with the Hungarian situation that it makes no sense to consult." Asked about a recent comment by Fiscal Council chief Zsigmond Járai, who said a new credit deal with the IMF could not be excluded, Kósa responded that Járai based his remark "on different calculations", adding that his words "refer rather to keeping relations than to a realistic scenario." This was not the first time Kósa lashed out at the IMF.