Hungary to Decide on Every Price Cap Scheme Two Weeks Before They Expire

  • 24 Mar 2023 9:46 AM
  • Hungary Matters
Hungary to Decide on Every Price Cap Scheme Two Weeks Before They Expire
Measures aimed at curbing inflation will remain in place until there is a noticeable improvement, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office told a news briefing, adding that inflation had slowly started to decline and was expected to fall into single digits by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, he said the government will decide on every price cap scheme two weeks before they are set to expire. Gulyás said the extension of the cap on interest rates on deposits of financial companies and private individuals with 20 million forints or more on their account served price stability.

Asked about Hungary’s dependence on Russian energy, Gulyás said that by building the necessary interconnectors, Hungary had created the conditions to diversify its natural gas supplies, adding, however, that there was not enough gas available on the European market.

Asked whether Hungary would keep its share in the Budapest-based International Investment Bank (IIB), Gulyás said the bank’s future still depended on whether Serbia would become a stakeholder in the institution.

Concerning the foreign campaign donations received by the left-wing opposition ahead of last year’s general election, Gulyás said the matter had been investigated by the State Audit Office (ÁSZ), but its findings could not be made public until the parties in question comment on them.

The aim is for every political party to accept the clause in the law on political parties that bans foreign funding, he added. Hungary has around two months to amend its election law, he said, arguing that it should not be amended a year before the 2024 European parliamentary and local elections.

Asked to comment on Wednesday’s meetings between members of the opposition Democratic Coalition’s (DK) shadow cabinet and their British counterparts, Gulyás said that although the shadow cabinet’s meetings were not considered major European diplomatic events, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer had a good chance of becoming prime minister in a few years’ time.

Gulyás said he was not surprised that DK was trying to “make this seem like a serious meeting, given the kind of foreign relations the Hungarian opposition has”. Gulyás said his “problem” was that, as an MEP, Klára Dobrev was “doing everything in her power to block EU funds for Hungary”.

Asked about potential “penalties” for general practitioners who refuse to sign new contracts concerning on-call services, Gulyás said “no one is being threatened with anything”. Citing the relevant legislation, Gulyás said doctors can be mandated to work on-call shifts twice a month, adding that “it’s not about night shifts”.

The law scrapping doctors’ mandatory membership in the Hungarian Medical Chamber (MOK) passed late last month still allows for doctors to join the chamber, he said.

Asked about the recent country report on Hungary released by the United States, Gulyás said the report had “no relevance from a legal standpoint” and had been “written out of frustration” because Hungary’s ruling parties retained power in the last election.

Asked whether the government would examine potential national security risks posed by Chinese video app TikTok, Gulyás said the government would look into the matter if the national security authorities signalled a risk. No such concern had been raised yet, he added.

Asked when the prime minister may visit Ukraine, Gulyás said the meeting would happen when it made sense to have one and when the two countries could achieve meaningful results in the settlement of their disagreements regarding the situation of Transcarpathian Hungarians.

Concerning the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Paris Olympics, Gulyás said he agreed with the White House’s stance that athletes from those countries should be allowed to compete without their national colours if they do not support the war.

Gulyás: Hungary Staying Out Of War

Hungary remains committed to staying out of the war in Ukraine, calling for a ceasefire and peace talks, and will continue boycotting weapons deliveries, the head of the Prime Minister's Office has said.

The past few weeks have seen “an increasing number of worrying statements” that reject calls for a ceasefire and promote the war’s prolongation, Gergely Gulyás told a press briefing. Those calls point to escalation rather than the peaceful resolution Hungary’s government is promoting, he said.

Hungary continues to refuse to deliver weapons but remains active in increasing defence capacity and improving defence equipment within NATO, he said.

Hungary is fulfilling all its duties to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank but strictly for defence purposes, in line with the North Atlantic Treaty, he said. NATO is expected to make a decision on the plan to boost its eastern flank at its summer summit in Lithuania, he noted.

Hungary was one of the first members to set up a rapid reaction force that also includes US, Italian, Croatian and Turkish troops serving under Hungarian command, Gulyás said, adding that since this task force serves defence purposes, it will not get involved in the Russia-Ukraine war.

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