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Hungary minister slams EU 'empire,' euro crisis handling

31 May 2012, 15:50 CET
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(BUDAPEST) - Hungary's economy minister criticised Brussels Thursday for its handling of the eurozone crisis and for attempting to create a new "empire" just a day after the EU unblocked funds for the country.

"The effort to centralise the European Union since 2008 hasn't been successful, in fact the (European) Commission has made a series of bad financial decisions," Gyorgy Matolcsy wrote in an article in the weekly Heti Valasz.

"The Commission mismanaged the crisis in the euro area and was unable to stop the decline of European influence on the international stage."

He added: "The centralisation of a European empire, that is to say the further strengthening of Brussels, is contrary to our interests, because it erodes the independence of the Hungarian state, necessary for the country's economic development."

The comments came a day after the European Commission proposed to unblock 495 million euros ($616 million) in cohesion funds to Hungary, arguing Budapest had taken requested action to put its public finances in order.

Brussels had imposed the freeze in March, the first case of financial sanctions since the 27-nation EU adopted new rules late last year to prevent governments from running excessively high deficits.

Calling for a "Europe of nations" rather than an "European empire," Matolcsy insisted Thursday that Hungary should not join the euro area in the near future.

"Hungary wants to stay out of the global currency war against the euro," he wrote.

When it became a member of the European Union in 2004, Hungary committed itself to joining the eurozone as soon as it met conditions, with analysts predicting this could happen by 2019-2020.

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