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The government has decided to extend the gasoline and food price freeze until December 31, the Chancellery Minister announced at the Government Info in Budapest on Saturday. Gergely Gulyás also announced that in addition to the above measures, the government will also extend the interest rate freeze, which expires on December 31, by at least six months.

He said that the government will do its utmost to ensure that the general economic situation in the country and the budgetary situation are such that these measures, including the reduction of utility costs, can be maintained.

He also expressed the view that if the war ended or if the EU decided to lift energy sanctions, the price of gas and oil would halve the next day.

The Minister justified the maintenance of price freezes on the grounds of the exceptional situation that there was no realistic prospect of an improvement as long as the sanctions were in place.

Gergely Gulyás added that the government could keep interest rates in check, which would be a major help to tens of thousands of families, and that they were confident that they could also keep fuel prices in Hungary under control. He said that Hungary has the cheapest fuel in Europe, which also helps families.

He also said that they would protect and maintain the reduction of utility costs up to the average consumption. After the scare of past weeks with the arrival of the first electricity and gas bills, we see that more people are fitting into the average amount set than previously thought, he said, noting that many have also started to save.

The Chancellery Minister said that there had been intensive negotiations with the European Commission over several months, especially in the summer, and that there were no outstanding issues.

The government has either accepted those requested by the Commission or, where it could not accept them, both sides have managed to reach a satisfactory compromise, he added.

He underlined that the cabinet discussed and approved these proposals at its meeting on Saturday and will submit them to Parliament this week. The legislation will come into effect in November, after which the conditionality procedure could be lifted, he said.

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Gulyás also said that negotiations are ongoing with the Commission on the recovery fund, for which tenders have been launched and payments have started, but no agreement has been reached with the Commission so far.

Regarding the report adopted by the European Parliament last week about the state of democracy in Hungary, Gulyás said that the EP’s decision condemning Hungary was an attempt by the Hungarian left to prevent the country from accessing EU funds.

Minister for Economic Development Márton Nagy announced at the Government Info that the government had adopted a program to support energy-intensive small and medium-sized enterprises.

The program, which will start on October 1 and run until the end of 2023, has two main components: one to support operating costs and the other to support investment, he said.

Featured photo via MTI/Illyés Tibor

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