HUF 500 billion spent by the Government from the reserve

HUF 500 billion spent by the Government from the reserve

One of the least visible elements of the prevailing state budget is the budget reserve. When approving the budget, the representatives give the Government a bianco cheque to be used for spending several ten billions of HUF. This money can be spent freely, on less visible tasks only and exclusively how the Government decides the spending. Policy Agenda has tried to examine how the Government has used or rather has abused this cash since the government change of 2010.

The history of HUF 500 billion

Since the government change of 2010 the Cabinet has decided on about HUF 500 billion in the form of simple government decisions. This sum was the so-called general reserve which, more recently, is called reserve serving „exceptional government measures”. Pursuant to the law, this money must/can be used for financing tasks specified in government decisions brought during the year and for supplementing budget revenues that are missing for unpreventable reasons. It means: this is really free cash of which the planning holes of the bad budget and initiatives proposed for political objectives can be financed.

According to the summary produced by Policy Agenda, the Government had spent only limited amounts in the first half of the cycle but by 2013 decisions had been brought already on HUF 123 billion only during one year. This amount, by comparing the expenditures for the same objective between January 2006 and May 2010, then totally HUF 197 billion was spent in this way, then it can be stated that the Government of Orbán happily distributed money of this special cash.

Table 1: General reserve of the Government/exceptional measures of the Government (June 2010 – August 2014)






amount (HUF billion)







The Cabinet may be obliged to account for this money in the closing budget report but there are decisions that are difficult to follow up. For example, such decisions are the amounts spent by the Office of the Prime Minister on material expenditures the usage of which is not transparent.

The TOP list: MI, MHR, MND

Since 2010 the most money has been distributed to the Ministry of Interior (MI) in a value of HUF 81.5 billion. It must be admitted, most of this money, that is HUF 55 billion have been spent on financing the supplementary resources of the police which shows as well that the yearly expenditures were planned less than the reality either intentionally or wrongly when the budget was planned. For this reason, it was necessary to supplement these resources that can be spent.

The second place in the list is occupied by the Ministry of Human Resources (MHR) (HUF 77.8 billion), almost one third of which was spent on sports grants. Out of this amount HUF 25 billion could be shared between stadium-building and supporting sports associations as well. The question could be asked, however, to what extent they were exceptional expenditures even if it would be difficult to attack them legally.

The third one in the TOP list is the Ministry of National Development (MND) with HUF 58 billion, one important item of which is the capital increase of MFB (Hungarian Development Bank) of HUF 20 billion realised yet in December 2010.

The Government gave the most to itself


If the budget is calculated in a calculable way, there is no need to involve supplementary resources in order for the Government to be able to finance its operations. On the other hand, HUF 218 billion have been spent on operating the state machinery since 2010 as it has been calculated by Policy Agenda. In 2012 and 2013 HUF 60 billion each were filled into the ministries while press reported on restraints in both years. This can be interpreted in a way that the Government was characterised by apparent unpredictability in this field.

We are writing that we think unpredictability was apparent because the clear signs of absolutely centralised governing could be seen in money distribution. The Government has always found resources for spending on political objectives (sports, cultural institutions, municipal investments, increase of the state property) while in other areas restraints, privation were realised.