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Hungary must rethink eurozone accession in light of changes, says PM

Hungary must reconsider whether adopting the euro is still in the country’s interest in light of the changed conditions, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a press conference in London on Friday.

Asked by MTI whether the eurozone debt crisis could affect the timing for Hungary’s adoption of the single currency, Orbán said the negative consequences of the crisis had pushed Hungary farther from eurozone accession, but conditions had also changed, requiring a new assessment.

"We signed a contract that we would join the eurozone, but the conditions for entry have changed since then, in fact, such decisions are being taken by eurozone members as we speak about which there was no mention when we signed the declaration of intent on joining the eurozone," he said.

Orbán said the circumstances had changed since the contract was signed, and that this had to be carefully weighed.

"On top of that, we don’t know where the eurozone’s own internal regulations will take it...when we said we would join the eurozone, there was not a word about a joint budget, but now we are very close to one," he added.

Orbán said the Hungarian parliament and Hungarian decision makers have to debate these questions again, in full view of public opinion, and determine whether it is in Hungary’s interest to join the eurozone in light of the changed conditions.

Asked whether Hungary’s government has a backup plan in case of a eurozone breakup, Orbán said the government always works with several scenarios when planning for the future. The goal right now is to keep the eurozone together, and as long as that is possible, every force has to be mobilized in this interest, he said. He added that it was important for Hungary that eurozone members find solutions to protecting the euro and reinforcing the eurozone that do not damage the market for all 27 European Union members.

Orbán was in London for two days to give a talk at the London School of Economics and meet with his British counterpart David Cameron.