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Orbán rejects austerity measures

The creation of jobs is a key issue in resolving current problems and the introduction of any austerity measures should not even be considered before unemployment is cut, leader of the main opposition Fidesz party Viktor Orbán told public television on Friday morning. There is a lively discussion within Fidesz about the price that is worth paying in order to keep the deadline of euro introduction at 2010, Orbán said, noting that joining the common currency at any cost would be a mistake. Orbán said it was near impossible to keep the original deadline and Hungary should not join the euro with a weak forint, as this would devalue the country's assets and wages. Fidesz is tied in the polls with the governing Socialists two months ahead of elections on April 9 and 23. Most analysts say Hungary is unlikely to adopt the euro in 2010 as the political will from both sides to cut the huge budget deficit to meet euro adoption criteria by 2008 is lacking.