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Hungary edges closer to euro adoption, Finance Minister says

Hungary, one of five east European countries this year to put off euro-adoption targets, is moving closer to switching to the new currency, according to the government's finance chief.

“We are definitely closer to the adoption of the euro,” Finance Minister János Veres said during a conference in Budapest today. “We have already made a decision on the transformation of the budget deficit. The acceptance of the” Convergence Program by the European Union “is a step taking us closer to the euro.” Hungary raised taxes and cut subsidies to trim the EU's widest budget deficit. There's “no chance” to cut the total tax burden, thought there may be a shift in the weight between taxes on income, consumption and wealth, Veres said. Veres reiterated that the 2007 draft budget, being debated by lawmakers, closely follows the deficit-cutting plan adopted by the EU last month. The government expects parliament to pass the bill without knocking it off the path to the euro, he added. (Bloomberg)