Based on figures from the government's draft convergence program announced by Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány on Tuesday, Hungary can introduce the euro no sooner than 2011, Finance Minister János Veres said in a television interview Wednesday morning.
Veres noted that although the Maastricht criteria for adopting the euro require a level of state debt no higher than 60% of GDP, exceptions can be made for state's whose debt is higher but shows a clear falling trend. By 2009, Hungary will be able to demonstrate its level of state debt is decreasing sufficiently, he said, conceding that the convergence program does not explicitly state this. The draft convergence program projects state debt, without any exclusions, to rise from 71.5% of GDP in 2007 to 72.7% of GDP in 2008, after which it will fall to 70.9% of GDP in 2009 and 68%-69% of GDP in 2010.
Veres said Hungary would receive in 2007 just two-thirds of the average annual amount of EU funding in the 2007-2013 budgetary period, while it would receive 80% of the average annual amount in 2008.