Hungary's new premier hopes austerity package instills confidence

Hungary's new premier hopes austerity package instills confidence Vienna - Hungary's Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai expressed hope on Tuesday that his austerity package would help bolster faith in his country, as the new head of government was in Vienna for his first foreign visit. The recent measures would stabilize the economy even in case of a 6-per-cent downturn, he said at his meeting with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, according to Austrian press agency APA.

Bajnai's new government has cut pensions, public sector pay and welfare payments while raising value-added tax, in an effort to relieve the national budget by the equivalent of 5.8 billion dollars.

Such measures were supported by 80 per cent of the population, said Bajnai, who was elected by the Hungarian parliament in mid- April.

The politician warned that the austerity package should not be delayed.

Faymann stressed Austria's solidarity with its eastern neighbour, saying the two countries should stick together "in good and bad times."

Touching on the recent violence against Roma minority, Bajnai called the "serial murders" of Roma "cowardly, bestial deeds."

He also expressed shock about a recent demonstration of Holocaust deniers in Budapest. The governing Socialist Party is planning a law to prosecute such revisionism.

In the past months, seven Roma were killed in possibly racist- motivated attacks. In the latest case, a man was shot to death in eastern Hungary last week.

Bajnai was accompanied by Foreign Minister Peter Balazs. (dpa)

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