February 28, 2013 / 10:11 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Hungary economy chief says big business attacking government

* Matolcsy seen as top candidate for c.bank governor

* PM Orban expected to name his choice on Friday

* Big EU business groups keep government under pressure-Matolcsy (Adds more comments, detail)

BUDAPEST, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Hungary’s Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy accused banks and multinationals of attacking his government with “all possible means”, a day before he is widely expected to be named the new central bank governor.

In an article in weekly Heti Valasz, Matolcsy said Hungary was able to cut its budget deficit using a special “Hungarian model”, avoiding the austerity demanded from other countries.

Matolcsy said the tools used by Budapest, including the bank tax, the taxes on energy firms, the telecoms tax, the reform of the private pension system and the tax on financial transactions, had met the resistance of strong interest groups.

“Among these the big EU business groups - banks and multinational firms - keep the government under pressure with all possible means,” he added.

“This is behind the attacks in the media, the EU infringement proceedings, the (ratings) downgrades, the financial market speculation and the political attacks.”

Prime Minister Viktor Orban is expected to name his candidate for central bank chief on Friday and Matolcsy, whom Orban has dubbed as “his right hand” is widely seen to be nominated for the job as Orban seeks looser monetary policy to revive the recession-hit economy.

Matolcsy said the Hungarian government’s economic policy posed a direct challenge to the European Union’s institutions and to governments caught up in the trap of traditional policies.

“By today we have proved that we are able to finance state debt without an IMF/EU loan because we have carried out a successful fiscal consolidation,” Matolcsy said.

“Only few countries are able to do this in Europe, the southern states of the euro zone would sink without bailouts and the help of the European Central Bank.” (Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Toby Chopra and Patrick Graham)

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