Hungarian lawmakers approve 2019 budget
Parliament approved on Friday the government’s 2019 budget bill.
The bill was approved with 128 votes in favour and 56 votes against.
The 2019 budget targets revenue of 19,580.4 billion forints (EUR 60.1bn) and expenditures of 20,578.8 billion forints, leaving a deficit of 998.4 billion forints.
It targets economic growth of 4.1 percent and a budget deficit of 1.8 percent of GDP based on European Union accounting rules.
Finance Minister Mihály Varga said earlier that next year’s budget would ensure “steady growth”.
The budget targets a decline in the public debt-to-GDP ratio from 72.9 percent in late 2018 to 70.3 percent by the end of 2019.
The budget allocates 15 billion forints more for education, 101 billion more for health care and 156 billion forints more for defence and public safety measures. It also allocates an extra 40 billion forints for combatting mass migration and counter-terrorism measures.
The budget earmarks 242 billion forints for the government’s family home purchase subsidy scheme CSOK. Tax benefits for families with two children will rise to 40,000 forints.
Finance Minister Mihaly Varga told a press conference after the vote that the financial balance of public administration would “break even, the deficit comes from investment and development”. He noted that next year a total 4,000 billion forints would be spent on development projects to boost growth.
Varga said that
Hungary’s economic outlooks were good and there was a stable foundation for growth, but added that “there are signs indicating crisis” therefore the government has raised budget reserves by 50 percent, to 360 billion forints.
Answering a question, the minister said that the government had no target for the forint-euro rate. That rate has a neutral effect on the budget and recent “fluctuations” have not necessitated changes to the budget, Varga insisted.