Govt Scheduled To Approve Hungary’s Convergence Programme

Budapest, April 23 (MTI) – The government is expected to approve Hungary’s 2014 national reform and convergence programme next week. The convergence programme must reach Brussels by April 30, a government official said today.

Laszlo Turoczy, deputy state secretary at the economy ministry, told a session of the National Economic and Social Council (NGTT) that the reform programme is in the process of being finalised, and the government will discuss it at a session next Wednesday before sending it on to the European Commission, which will make proposals based on the document by the end of May. The European Council of Ministers is scheduled to consider approval of the programme by the end of the following month.

New measures proposed by the government have not yet been incorporated into the reform programme, and therefore the document will contain measures which have already been approved, Turoczy said.

The national reform programme contains a medium-term macroeconomic review, reports on the implementation of country-specific proposals for 2013, reform measures related to the EU 2020 strategy, as well as plans for the uptake of funding in the EU 2014-2020 budget period.

In line with country-specific recommendations from the EU, Hungary’s reform programme seeks to improve the employment of young people, women, and those who have been out of work for a longer period, through proactive labour-market policies, the official said. As an example, Turoczy mentioned the government’s job protection scheme, under which he said 115,000 positions had been created or preserved.

In the areas of education and social integration, the government has pursued the aim of reducing the number of school drop-outs and help disadvantaged groups to close the gap with the rest of society, Turoczy said.

On the subject of climate and energy policy, the deputy state secretary said that the government was working to increase spending on energy efficiency.