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Hungarian central banker downplays strife with PM

January 18, 2012
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VIENNA—The head of Hungary's Central Bank is downplaying his dispute with the country's prime minister over the institution's independence.

Andras Simor says Prime Minister Viktor Orban has declared that the bank will remain autonomous so he has to "believe what the prime minister said."

Simor spoke at a seminar Wednesday, after the European Commission launched legal action against Hungary's new constitution. The commission says the constitution undermines the Central Bank's independence by giving the government a much larger role in naming top bank officials.

EU confidence in Hungary has been undermined by perceptions that Orban is infringing on democratic principles, worsening the country's economic problems. Simor alluded to such concerns, saying it made no sense to "take (the) risk of total unpredictability" in economic and legal matters.

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