Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Todd Shepard, Author of 'The Algerian War and the Remaking of France'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Freed French Hostages: Celebration and Speculation on how it all happened

Read more

HIGH PROFILE

Justine Dupont, surfer

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Guillaume Poitrinal, Chief executive of Woodeum

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria

Read more

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues internet giants

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shocking revelations on South Korean ferry disaster provoke scathing editorials

Read more

HIGH PROFILE

Olivier Poussier, winner, world's best sommelier (2000)

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Peugeot-Citroën hopes for sales boost at Beijing auto show

Read more

  • Boston readies for first marathon since bombings

    Read more

  • Deadly shootout in eastern Ukraine threatens Geneva deal

    Read more

  • S.Korea president says captain’s action akin to ‘murder’

    Read more

  • Abdullah widens lead in Afghan presidential vote

    Read more

  • Leftist Sabahi to challenge Sisi for Egypt presidency

    Read more

  • Syria to hold presidential election on June 3

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

Europe

Austerity? What austerity?

©

Video by Gulliver CRAGG

Text by Gulliver CRAGG

Latest update : 2010-12-29

Not every EU country is pushing through harsh austerity measures. Hungary, which takes over the block's rotating presidency on January 1st 2011, is actually cutting income tax and raising benefits. Our correspondent went to Budapest to find out more.

Hungary takes over the European Union's rotating presidency on January 1st. It does so as a rather controversial player in the 27-member block: while a tough new media law has drawn rebuke lately from Budapest's European partners, the country's economic policies have also met with stern criticism from some quarters, while others are tempted to emulate them.

Hungary has suffered badly from the global economic crisis, and had to take a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2008. It's still grappling to contain its deficit, and with public debt at 79% of GDP, it's the most indebted of all the formerly communist EU states.

Currently the prescribed remedy for Europe's less solvent economies is budgetary austerity. Hungary was playing the game, too. But earlier this year, the incoming Fidesz (centre-right) government decided Hungarians couldn't take any more austerity. Breaking off talks with the IMF, it struck off down a different path: to balance the budget, it imposed "crisis taxes" on the banking, retail and telecommunications sectors, and (particularly controversially) is seeking to bring more than €11bn from private pension funds back into the state coffers. But is this a viable alternative, or just short-term populism?

Date created : 2010-12-29

Comments

COMMENT(S)