Budapest, April 6 (MTI) – Hungary last week paid back the final 1.5 billion euro instalment of a loan it took up from the European Commission in 2008, Economy Minister Mihály Varga announced on Wednesday.
Hungary already repaid the IMF loan of over 7 billion euros it took up together with the EC loan in 2013.
The minister expressed hope that paying back the loan would improve Hungary’s standing with credit rating agencies. He said it would benefit the country if IMF chief Christine Lagarde congratulated Hungary on completing its financial assistance programme as she had done with Cyprus.
Market players already have a more favourable view of Hungary’s economy than the main rating agencies, Varga said.
The ruling Fidesz party, commenting on the minister’s announcement, said that having repaid both loans, Hungary is now “free of one of the worst legacies” of the former Ferenc Gyurcsány-led Socialist government. Fidesz group leader spokesman János Halász said it was telling of the Left’s “incompetence” that the former Socialist government “would have been incapable of running the country without the loans”. The IMF-EU loan cost Hungarian families dearly, he said, arguing that the former government passed multiple austerity packages that included pension and wage cuts and tax increases. He said it was “the work of the Hungarian people” and the economy’s improvement that made the loan repayment possible. This will reassure foreign markets that Hungary is now back on its own feet, he said.