The government has decided to extend the gasoline and food price freeze for another three months, the minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Saturday in Budapest, in the Government Info Event.
Gergely Gulyás also said that the government would also extend the interest rate freeze expiring on December 31st by at least half a year.
He also expressed his opinion that if the war were to end, or if the EU decided to remove energy sanctions, the price of gas and oil would be halved the very next day.
At the press conference held during the government meeting, the minister said that the war and the sanctions responses to it led to a brutal increase in energy prices, which caused a general price increase, inflation, and the price of products, especially food, rose.
As a result, the price of gasoline and diesel has also skyrocketed, and interest rates have risen rapidly in recent months.
Gergely Gulyás reminded that the government already took measures last fall to protect Hungarian families from these harmful phenomena.
He justified the maintenance of the price caps with the extraordinary situation that, as long as the sanctions are in effect, there is no realistic chance that the situation will improve.
He concluded that Hungarian families will continue to have basic foodstuffs available at pre-crisis prices.
He added that the government can keep interest rates under control, which is a serious help to tens of thousands of families, and they are confident that they can also keep fuel prices in Hungary under control. He said that the fuel in Hungary was the cheapest in Europe, which helps families.
He also said that the utility reduction will be protected and maintained until average consumption. After the scare of the past months, when the first electricity and gas bills arrived, it was seen that more people could fit into the specified average amount than they thought before – he said, noting that many people started saving.
According to his description, they can give families a significant support of HUF 150-180 thousand per month by not having to pay the market price of gas and electricity. The minister said that for several months, especially in the summer, intensive negotiations took place with the European Commission (EC), and now there are no open questions.
The government either accepted what was requested by the European Commission, or where it could not accept, both parties managed to reach a satisfactory compromise, he added.
He said that the cabinet discussed and approved these proposals at the Saturday meeting, which he will submit to the National Assembly next Monday and Friday. The legislation will enter into force in November, after which the conditionality procedure can be abolished, he indicated. According to the minister, the series of negotiations that took place with the committee over the past two months can be considered a step towards mutual trust instead of mutual mistrust.
He noted that the European Court of Justice will communicate on this matter on Sunday, and that the commitments made by the Hungarian government must be fulfilled and become a reality. He asked the National Assembly to give priority to those bills, after their adoption, the conditionality procedure can be closed.
He also touched on the fact that negotiations are ongoing with the European Commission on the recovery fund, in connection with which tenders were announced and payments started, but no agreement was reached with the committee.
He said that they are negotiating and are not yet late in concluding a partnership agreement on the operational programs of the next seven-year EU budget.