Matolcsy 17th out of 19 in Financial Times finance minister ranking
Thursday, 24 November 2011 12:44
Financial Times has ranked European Union finance ministers for the sixth time this year. Hungary’s György Matolcsy finished on the 17th place, which means only his Italian and Greece peers did a worse job than him. Sweden’s Andreas Borg won top scores, followed by Germany’s Wolfgant Schauble. In the sixth ranking of European Union finance ministers, the Financial Times attempted to select a player of the year from the bloc’s 19 main economies. The paper looked at "how on the ball each minister was and whether they were team players"; it counted their own goals, set them targets for economic performance and measured the response to them from that toughest of crowds - the capital markets.
"With the continent on the brink of recession, its banks weakened, bond markets in turmoil and investors questioning the euro’s survival, the pressure could hardly have been greater," the paper added. The candidates "were collectively negligent in allowing a tractable crisis to spiral out of control," said Sony Kapoor, head of Re-Define, an economic consultancy, and one of the seven-strong jury who ranked ministers’ political skills. Michael Heise of Allianz, the German insurer, wonders whether to give them all extra marks "just for putting themselves in the line of fire" - or whether "they should collectively receive a thumbs down". "The judging is inevitably subjective - and is not meant to be taken too seriously. Rating Europe’s fiscal masters makes refereeing a controversial offside in football look easy. It was harder for those inherited a mess or lacked back-up to attract praise," FT stressed.
In the overall ranking Matolcsy finished 17th. He scored the lowest of all finance ministers based on political aspects and is 10th in the economic ranking. He is close to the very bottom of the list with regard to market credibility (tie with Italy’s Giulio Tremonti on the 16th place).
The FT said the Hungarian Economy Minister has had a "bumpy year", reminding that his right-of-centre Fidesz party "shunned further support" from the IMF last year "in favour of growth-boosting measures". Last week though Hungary called the IMF back, seeking an "insurance-type" credit facility in the shadow of looming credit downgrades. The argument for the request for assistance was that the country needs a safety net for growth next year. The FT noted that the country’s need to lower the budget deficit "left little room for manoeuvre, and policies have often appeared improvised." The paper also mentions that as borrowing costs have soared and pressure on the forint has mounted, the cabinet was forced last week "into a U-turn", saying it would re-engage with the IMF. Matolcsy’s overall ranking is the same as last year. Only his Italian (Giulio Tremonti) and Greek (Evangelos Venizelos) scored worse.
Source: Financial Times, Portfolio.hu