Budapest, December 18 (MTI) – Hungary’s government is in talks with Austria’s Erste Bank and Raiffeisen Bank on a strategic partnership and on expanding the state’s portfolio of credit institutions, cabinet chief Janos Lazar said in an interview published in the Thursday issue of weekly Figyelo.
“After holding talks with the head of Erste Bank, the prime minister instructed me to make a joint offer. Erste has strategic goals in Hungary. It is a strong financial institution in the country, which deserves special attention,” Lazar said.
“Raiffeisen may be in a different situation, we would like to agree with them as well on their future,” he added.
Lazar reiterated that it was not the government’s aim to create a system of state-owned banks, but to raise the share of the sector in Hungarian hands to 50-70 percent. He added that MKB Bank and Budapest Bank would be sold in a transparent manner within three years.
The state recently acquired MKB Bank and expects to close the purchase of Budapest Bank by the middle of next year.
Lazar said that maintaining economic growth would be the key issue of the next four years. A growth rate of 3-4 percent over 5-10 years would mean that the Hungarian economy has recovered from the crisis, he added.
Speaking about the planned upgrade of the Paks nuclear power plant, Lazar acknowledged the possibility of withdrawing from the project, but said that was not the aim, noting that to do so would be costly.