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The government may pursue an openly protectionist economic policy in order to push out foreign retail chains, Fidesz MP János Lázár said at a conference. 

The politician, who was the head of the Prime Minister’s Office in the previous term (2014-2018), made these remarks at the Agricultural Sector Conference organized by Portfolio. His online speech was centered around the need for independence in agriculture and economy as a whole, in the post-pandemic era.

“The government’s future plans also include pushing out foreign retail chains, for which an openly protectionist policy will be pursued. You have to be on the offensive in this one, because there has to be Hungarian national retail, dominance of the market is in [our] own interest,” he said.

Fact

Back in 2017, Lázár (the PMO Head that time) himself criticized the EU for what he said was its support for the continued practice of companies “selling lower quality products to poor Hungarians.” He did so in reference to an investigation that compared retail chains’ products, including Lidl, Aldi, Spar, and Metro.

This is not the first time such a plan has been proposed by Fidesz or government officials. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán himself earlier said that this was one of the strategic sectors in which majority Hungarian ownership would be desirable. There were even steps made in this direction with some still being in effect (ban on mall constructions) while others failed or had been postponed.

featured image illustration via Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI