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Extra info for Hungary: on the road to the European Union

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5 percent of GDP from EU grants. This adjustment would allow investment to continue to expand while reducing the current account deficit. This proposed fiscal adjustment would not only contribute to a sustainable increase in investment and output, but would also tend to depreciate the real exchange rate, and hence should allow for a reduction in the rate of crawl of the nominal exchange rate. In turn, a lower rate of crawl would facilitate the government's efforts to lower the inflation rate to EU levels.

Hungary is also proving to be competitive in international markets, in particular, most importantly, in the EU market; today, three-quarters of Hungary's exports are to the EU. Export performance, especially since 1996, has been strong, specifically in high-technology intensive and human capital intensive products. While Hungary benefited from good initial conditions compared to other transition economies, its strong performance is mainly the result of the successful stabilization program implemented in the mid-1990's, and of deep structural reforms that began earlier in the decade and accelerated in subsequent years.

In the structural and institutional area, a three prong approach is required. First, policymakers should design and implement reforms programs for the health sector, local government, and in infrastructure. While some of these new reform programs are not directly related to the legislation that Hungary needs to adopt with EU membership, they are, however, essential to maintain growth and/or macro stability over the medium-term. Second, the authorities should complete the successful structural reform efforts already underway in key markets and sectors such as pensions, the financial sector, the labor market and external trade.

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