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Hungary asks EU for 3 more years to trim budget gap

Hungary's Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány asked the European Union for three extra years to cut the country's budget deficit to euro adoption levels, Napi Gazdaság reported, citing the premier. Gyurcsány asked European Commission President Jose Barroso at a November 19 meeting in Budapest for additional time to be able to spend on motorway development and social benefits. Barroso did not comment on Gyurcsány's request, it said. Hungary, with a budget deficit probably more than twice the EU's 3 % target this year, needs to bring its gap in line with the bloc's requirement by 2008 to adopt the euro in 2010. The country's shortfall will grow to 6.7% of gross domestic product next year and 6.9% of GDP in 2007, the commission said November 17. Hungary's government estimated this year's deficit at 6.1% of GDP.