Hungary's New Széchenyi Plan, an economic development plan, will invest HUF 7,000 billion (EUR 25.5bn) between 2011 and 2014 in various business projects and infrastructure, boosting the investment rate by an annual 5 percentage points.
The plan and the hopes the government attaches to it were announced by the Minister of National Economy, György Matolcsy at an economic forum on Friday.
He said Hungary's investment rate would rise to 25 percent by 2014, by which time Hungary's gross domestic product is expected grow by 4-6 percent. He added that 300,000 jobs were expected to be created by 2014 and one million jobs by 2020.
He said Hungary would enact structural reforms to make sure of the sustainability of the public finances, boost economic growth and employment.
The government consolidated the state finances in the second half of 2010, enabling the budget deficit to stay below 3 percent of GDP, he said.
Hungary has become one of two countries in Europe next to Sweden able to reduce its budget deficit, he pointed out, adding that the government is determined to keep the budget deficit below 3 percent of GDP in 2011-14. Only three or four EU countries will be able to do this, he added.
Compared to the first Szechenyi plan (1998-2002), the New Szechenyi Plan includes three new priorities: health industry developments, including wellness tourism, the green economy and boosting employment. With the help of these priorities, one million new jobs can be created in ten years, Matolcsy added.
The government also puts emphasis on innovation in the new development plan, he said. Experts expect Hungary to become one of the leading powers in innovation in the coming decade, the minister stressed.
Tamás Fellegi, Hungary's National Development Minister, said at the event that Hungary will have HUF 2,000 billion (EUR 7.25bn) available from European Union funding for development projects by 2013.
Fellegi said bidding for funds will run under a new faster and simplified scheme. Plans are to commit 55-60 percent of the European Union funding in 2011 along the seven priorities of the Szechenyi Plan, he added.
Many of the projects focus on transport, tourism and sports. He cited examples of updating railways and public-transport networks, tourism developments in Lake Balaton in the west and Lake Tisza in the east and reconstruction work in the Buda castle district.
He also mentioned funding for the super-laser project in the south Hungarian city of Szeged and upgrading the programme of the Talentis innovation cluster, described as the central and eastern European Silicon Valley.
The daily Népszabadság has learned that many of the projects in the Széchenyi Plan are the same as the elements of the previous cabinet's New Hungary plan that was suspended by the current government. They have now been brushed off and are being relaunched under a new cover.
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