Thursday, April 28, 2005

Hungary to get "100 Steps Programme"

The governing Socialist coalition in Hungary likes doing things by the hundred. We have had the 100 Days programmes, and now it is the turn of the 100 Steps programme. MTI, the Hungarian press agency, reports it thus:

The Prime Minister is expected to outline details of its recently launched Hundred Steps programme on Sunday, an MP from the governing Socialist party, who wished to be unnamed, said on Wednesday.

On May 1 when Hungary celebrates the first year of its European Union membership, Ferenc Gyurcsany is expected to come forward with tangible proposals to run under the programme in job creation, new family support legislation, and changes to health care, education and training, the politician said.

Most of the changes are tabled for debate in Parliament before the summer recess, but a few may be put off until the autumn, MTI learnt.

Gyurcsany announced the launch of his government's new programme at the Socialist Party Congress on April 15, which aims to make small and targeted adjustments to public administration and services rather than sweeping reforms.

Since then, the prime minister has replaced his finance and the agriculture ministers.

From PM to unveil hundred steps programme on Sunday
With elections due to take place next spring it seems likely that the 100 Steps may be some forms of electoral programme rather than anything to be embarked upon now. On the financial front it looks as if some creative accounting is about all that can be expected from János Veres, Hungary's new Finance Minister, in attempts to bring down the ballooning deficit – there is some further useful analysis on this at the Budapest Business Journal See - New Finance Minister seen as political pick

It looks very much as if the new Finance Minister is unlikley to embark on anything that has a hint of austerity to it given that such measures could damage the chances of the Socialists getting back into power in next Spring's general election. As an aside it worth noting that the Hungarian people have changed their government at every election since the change of political system, probably so as to be sure that they still can, so the odds on the Socialists getting a second term next year are slim - but there is a first time for everything.