Hungary in ‘no rush’ to join eurozone, says Varga

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Hungarian economic policy cannot abandon its long-term intention of joining the eurozone, but there is no rush, Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga said Thursday at an event organized by the Joint Venture Association (JVSZ), state wire service MTI reported.

Varga said that it is necessary to wait and see what happens in the eurozone, and evidently other countries share this opinion, since nobody is in a rush to join up at the moment. Hungary is ready to join, but an appropriate level of competitiveness in the economy is a prerequisite for this, he stressed.

The minister remarked that it is impossible to maintain a currency system where monetary policy is unified but fiscal policy is not, noting that while the European Central Bank (ECB) can set base rates, there is no stabilizing mechanism to harmonize exchange rates.

At the moment Hungary is not fulfilling one out of the three criteria for joining the eurozone, as the exchange rate of the forint is not pegged to the euro, but this is a deliberate decision, said Varga. 

The minister also talked about the need to be ready to counter the protectionist actions taken by some EU members as the economic tensions of the post-crisis years sharpen differences between countries.

"Peace and friendship are important. We are still in an alliance, and we have absolutely no wish to leave the European Union. We feel that in the long term this is good for Europe and good for Hungary," Varga stressed.

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