Hungary unlikely to join the eurozone soon

Updated: 2014-02-13 17:42


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BEIJING - Hungarian Prime Minister Orban Viktor brushed aside his country's possibility of joining the eurozone in the near future, during a speech at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Thursday.

If the euro, the currency used by the majority of European Union (EU) members, destabilizes, Europe then loses its competitiveness, said Orban.

The Central European country joined the EU in 2004, but is not a member of the eurozone.

The only way to stabilize the currency is for EU members to conduct deeper cooperation and form a budgetary union, the prime minister said.

Three-quarters of Hungary's exports go to the zone. An unstable euro will have a direct impact on the country, so Hungary supports Europe to have a stabler integration process, he said.

Asked if Hungary has a timetable for joining the eurozone, Orban answered, "No."

He said his country would not consider the idea before its real economy almost runs parallel with the most developed European nations. Also, the Hungarian constitution would require two-thirds of parliament to join the zone.

The 2008 economic crisis provides a historic opportunity for Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. They will lead the economic growth in Europe for the next eight to ten years, according to Orban.

CEE countries still lack expressways and rails, but Europe does not have a budget plan to fund them within the next seven years, Orban said, welcoming China to play an important role in the modernization of infrastructure there.

He reaffirmed his country's strategy to open up to the East, including forging closer ties with emerging economies like India and Turkey. He hoped there could be 33 percent of exports going to destinations outside Europe in 2018, up from the present 11 percent.

Orban is leading a delegation to China from February 11 to 13 at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The two countries have agreed to work on projects such as a railway from Hungary to Serbia, implement their local currency swap agreement and signed a series of cooperation deals in areas of science, tourism, medicine, finance and personnel exchanges.

This showcases our ambitious goal for promoting our relationship to a higher level, the prime minister said.