June 9, 2020 / 2:19 PM / 23 days ago

EU's economic rescue plan unfair to Hungary: finance minister

FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Finance Minister Mihaly Varga speaks during a business conference in Budapest, Hungary, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - The European Union’s 750 billion-euro stimulus plan to cushion the economic slump expected this year due to coronavirus lockdowns is unfair towards Hungary, Finance Minister Mihaly Varga said on Tuesday.

Under the plan, which must be approved by all bloc members, the EU’s executive Commission would borrow from the market and disburse two-thirds of the funds in grants and the rest in loans with much of the money going to hard-hit Italy and Spain.

“In its present form, the economic rescue plan is unfair towards Hungary, as in essence it has been tailor-made to help southern member states,” Varga said in a video on his Facebook page.

Varga said the EU should adopt a “fair and proportionate” plan to alleviate the economic damage caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Leaders of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia - the so-called Visegrad group — will meet on Thursday to discuss the plan.

Varga said the EU should adopt a “fair and proportionate” approach when it comes to alleviating the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

He said the plan should take into account the fact that the recovery could put extra burden on smaller, less developed economies like Hungary which has a tight fiscal policy.

Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Alex Richardson and Ed Osmond

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