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FinMin: Hungary could set euro zone entry date by mid-year

  Hungary could set a date for joining the euro zone in the middle of the year or at the end of September, Finance Minister János Veres said in a television interview early Monday.

The government’s program, announced over the past two weeks, and currently being discussed with specialists and social partners, could create an economic framework that leads Hungary to the euro zone in the foreseeable future, Veres said. Of course, Parliament must still approve the program, he added.

Veres said it was the government’s firm intention to convince Brussels to be more flexible with the criteria for joining the euro zone in light of the economic crisis.

The government does not want looser criteria, rather it wants the process of adopting the euro accelerated. It would serve the stability of the euro zone if EU members without the euro are allowed to adopt the single currency as quickly as possible.

Speaking about a package of proposals recently put together by the Reform Alliance, a group of specialists and business leaders, Veres said the government was open to the proposals, but he called proposed expenditure cuts “baseless”.

The Reform Alliance called for more radical tax cuts paired with steeper reductions in budget expenditures. There is no realistic foundation for Moody’s to decide on a downgrade of Hungary’s sovereign rating, Veres said, referring to speculation the ratings company is considering such a move. (MTI-Econews)