Hungary could adopt euro by 2031, says MNB governor

EU

The earliest Hungary could adopt the euro as its currency may be no sooner than in 15 years, meaning 2031, György Matolcsy, governor of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB), told German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) Tuesday, according to Hungarian news portal hvg.hu.

According to the MNB governor, the euro “currently is not really attractive,” hvg.hu reported. The governor also promised that Hungary, under its contractual obligations, will join the currency union, though it will be “a step made in no haste,” hvg.hu quoted Matolcsy as saying in the FAZ interview.

Matolcsy said that while Hungary does meet the Maastricht criteria for adopting the euro, there is one unofficial “unwritten” requirement of reaching the average per capita GDP level of the European Union. He was reported as saying that Hungary stands at 68% in this regard, and that “another 15-20 years are needed for Hungary to reach 100% and we can adopt the euro,” according to hvg.hu.

Soft criticism of the EU

In criticizing the European Union, which has become a common practice of the Hungarian governing elite lately, Matolcsy told the paper that “so-called migration policies have weakened the stability of the European Union,” and that “competitiveness and capacities for reform have been suffering” as a consequence.

Matolcsy said he believes the leading political elite of the European Union is losing the support of the people more and more, as institutions of the union and certain Western governments have not taken seriously the public’s concerns in connection with the migration inflow, hvg.hu reported based on the FAZ article. The governor added that this attitude has led to the postponing of economic reforms, as well as the strengthening of political extremes and anti-European sentiment - and, in the case of Great Britain, leaving the European Union.

Commenting on the opinion of Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn that Hungary should be suspended or expelled from the EU, Matolcsy said that it is not Hungary that threatens cohesion or democracy in Europe, but “bad decisions in the EU, which are being made over the heads of people by irresponsible and partly non-elected politicians in Brussels,” hvg.hu reported.

The governor acknowledged that Hungary profits significantly from EU funds, and that membership is vital for Hungary, but “this does not mean that EU procedures are always right,” hvg.hu reported.

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