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Hungary unlikely to adopt Euro by 2010, opposition leader says

According to opposition leader Viktor Orbán, Hungary probably won't be able to keep the government's plan and introduce the euro in 2010 because of a burgeoning budget deficit, opposition leader Viktor Orbán said.

`I don't think it is possible to achieve a significant reduction of the budget deficit from one day to the next,'' Orbán said on state television last night. `I have some serious doubts'' about the target date. Hungary and other east European countries that joined the European Union in 2004 must work toward introducing the euro. PrimeMinister Ferenc Gyurcsány, who will face Orbán in an April election, said he plans to cut the country's budget deficit to EU limits by 2008 and adopt the common currency in 2010. European Union finance ministers on January 24 criticized the government for not doing enough to reduce the budget deficit, estimated at 6.1% of gross domestic product last year. The shortfall must be less than 3% two years before euro adoption. Standard & Poor's on January 26 reduced Hungary's rating outlook to negative from stable because of the government's failure to control the deficit. The agency said neither of the two major parties vying for power presented a credible strategy to trim the shortfall.