Hungary: on the road to the European Union by World Bank

By World Bank

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8 percent of GDP in 1998, due in part to a sharp increase in net profit remittances. While this increase partly reflected particular circumstances in a handful of multinationals, the increase is also an indicator of longer-term trends. The ratio of remitted profits to the (lagged) stock of FDI increased from 2 percent (the average in 199397) to 6 percent in Page 6 1998, more in line with the average flow/stock ratio in a representative sample of emerging markets. A prudent medium-run macroeconomic framework should assume a flow/stock ratio of about 5 percent rather than 2 percent, especially as foreign investment in Hungary matures.

The authorities put in place a sound framework of laws and regulations regarding, among other issues, property rights, bankruptcy laws, and supervision and prudential regulations. Finally, the government has been flexible and responsive to changes in economic circumstances. In particular, it decisively responded to the significant external imbalances that emerged in 199394 by implementing a far-reaching stabilization program that combined fiscal adjustment measures with the acceleration of structural reforms.

Preparing the public sector for the challenges of EU accession also requires increasing the efficiency of local governments in delivering public services. This issue is especially important since local government will be responsible for receiving and allocating a significant volume of EU transfers that are expected to follow EU membership. Improving the Delivery of Local Public Services and the System of Intergovernmental Finance Although local governments have been able to meet fiscal targets in recent years, there are still indications of inefficient delivery of services and strains in local finances.

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