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'Faster Transformation' Gives Budapest Lead In Foreign Investment

Prague, May 16 (RFE/RL) -- A top official in Hungary's central bank says his country has had more direct foreign investment than its neighbors because Budapest "started the transformation process faster."

National Bank Vice Governor Gyorgy Szapary made the comment today during a privatization conference in Prague that drew delegates from across eastern and central Europe.

Szapary said Hungary has received 13,000 million dollars in direct foreign investment since 1990. By comparison, Romanian officials say they hope to top 2,000 million dollars this year while foreign firms have yet to invest 1,000 million in Bulgaria.

Since 1990, the International Monetary Fund has urged eastern European countries to make quick, radical reform changes in order to minimize the social effects of the transition from central planning to a free market.

The European Bank for Reconstruction said in its latest Transition report that Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic have created the best laws to foster investment.