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“The European Commission Has No Say” in Matters of Domestic Utility Price Caps

Hungary Today 2023.05.25.
Finance Minister Mihály Varga (L) and Gergely Gulyás, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Minister of Finance called the 2024 budget a “defense budget” at the Government Information Meeting in Budapest on Thursday. Mihály Varga said that the unstable global economic environment, the sanctions policy in Brussels and the effects of the protracted war are also affecting Hungary.

“We will not let our achievements go to waste. Therefore, even in such uncertain times, we need a budget that guarantees the country’s physical and economic security,” he said. Mihály Varga maintained that families, pensions and jobs would be protected, and the system of public utility bill protection, unique in Europe, would be maintained.
The minister stressed that next year more resources will be allocated to defense spending, family tax benefits will be maintained even after the restructuring of the family support system, and the resources of the fire protection fund will be secured.
Commenting on the main figures of the budget, he said that

economic growth is expected to reach 4 percent, the general government deficit could reach 2.9 percent, the public debt could fall to 66.7 percent, and inflation is expected to be 6 percent per year.

Finance Minister Mihály Varga. Photo: MTI/Kovács Tamás

The Government will ensure the protection of families and pensioners in the 2024 budget, and the family tax allowance and the 13th month pension will be maintained, Finance Minister Mihály Varga stressed.

The Minister said that the Government will continue to give priority to supporting Hungarian families, childbearing and child-rearing in these extraordinary times, so next year’s budget will continue to provide for one of Europe’s most favorable income taxes, and tax relief for the family tax system will also be maintained.

The 2024 budget will also guarantee personal income tax exemptions for women with at least four children and under 30 years of age, and personal income tax exemptions for those under 25,

he added.
He also stressed that pensioners would be protected in times of war, that the inflation-linked pension increase would remain, and that the 13th month pension would be fully restored in 2022.

The European Commission cannot make any proposals to end the Hungarian price-cap on utility bills, it has no such right, and Hungary will continue to preserve the achievements of the cuts,

Gergely Gulyás, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office. The minister was reacting to the publication of the European Commission’s country-specific recommendations on Wednesday.
He said that Hungary attaches importance to the objective of reducing the budget deficit, as is also clear from the draft budget presented. Hungary is the only country where the government was able to reduce the deficit in the previous three election years, “so we cannot be accused of not always keeping this in mind, even in difficult, crisis times”, he said.
He stressed that, nevertheless, it is not all the same how this goal is achieved, and in this respect the European Commission’s proposal is not acceptable. The achievements of the utility bill cuts will be preserved within the known rules, he stressed. The minister said that even though the recommendation is for Hungary to end the energy support measures in force by the end of 2023, Hungary will reduce the deficit, but it can do so without accepting the Commission’s advice.

Hungarian Banking System Is Strong, Says Finance Minister
Hungarian Banking System Is Strong, Says Finance Minister

Mihály Varga stressed that this year is about avoiding recession, while next year the Hungarian GDP could grow by around four percent.Continue reading

Featured Image: MTI/Kovács Tamás

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