As recommended by the EU's executive Commission, the ministers postponed the deadline for Budapest to cut the deficit to around 3% of GDP until the end of 2009 from 2008. But they stressed reforms must be implemented rigorously. The ministers gave Hungary until April 10, 2007, to show it is implementing its promised reforms. The EU ministers urged Hungary to implement swiftly its planned reforms of the public administration, healthcare and pension and education systems. The ministers did not recommend any sanctions. Technically, sanctions may only be levied on eurozone members, however no eurozone member has ever been fined. In its recommendation from September 26, the European Commission said both short- and long-term risks are still evident, making it of utmost importance that Hungary implement reforms and control expenditures. The ministers urged Hungary to start the necessary reforms as soon as possible and to take measures as necessary. (Mti-Eco)
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