- 2 Nov 2023 5:59 AM
- Hungary Matters
“Brussels wants Hungary to gradually phase out the utility price cuts, the freeze on interest rates and the windfall profit tax,” Alexandra Szentkirályi said in a video on Facebook.
One question will concern the European Commission’s plan on the utility price cap scheme thanks to which Hungary has the lowest household gas and electricity prices in the European Union and families as a result pay 181,000 forints (EUR 474) less for energy per month, she said.
Hungarians will also be asked for their opinion about Brussels’s plan to scrap the freeze on interest rates, Szentkirályi said, noting that the scheme had so far protected 300,000 families and some 30,000 businesses from potential interest rate increases by banks in response to the war in Ukraine.
A third question will concern Brussels’s call for phasing out the windfall profit tax which had been levied on multinational companies that had generated extra profit on the back of the coronavirus pandemic and the crisis related to the war in Ukraine, she said.
The prime minister announced last Friday the launch of a new National Consultation survey “to strengthen the unity of voters and the country’s political leaders”.
Viktor Orbán said the public survey was “a good way of asking some very serious questions, of which there are 10-11 now, and to give an opportunity to people to express their opinion.”
The millions of responses that are regularly received for such surveys “establish large support behind the government, and the government can then conduct talks in Brussels with a self-assured position against the hurricane headwinds from Brussels”, he added.
Official: National Consultation Needed Because of Disputes with Brussels
The government has decided to launch a National Consultation because of disputes with institutions in Brussels that affect Hungary’s economy and security, the state secretary of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office said on Saturday.
In a video message posted on Facebook, Csaba Dömötör said the nationwide survey was also necessary to ensure “decisions about the future remain in our own hands”.
“We’re being pressured to give more money for the Russian-Ukrainian war, which is not exactly an effort to advance peace,” he said.
Brussels also wants the Hungarian government to accept a new migration package that not only relocates migrants but requires they be allowed to immigrate even before their asylum applications are weighed, he added.
“The significance of this can’t be overstated, considering the recent terrorist attacks in Europe and shootings on our southern border,” he said.
Touching on economic issues that will be addressed in the National Consultation, he said the government’s position was that families shouldn’t have to shoulder the burdens of the crisis, while companies that rake in windfall profits should “take their fair share of the burden”.
In contrast, Brussels wants to eliminate support for household utilities fees, interest rate freezes and the windfall profit tax, which would mean an “enormous additional expenditure” for families, he added.
The government will also ask people to weigh in on Brussels’ request for more money from the government even as it withholds money due the country, he said.
Questions to be included in the National Consultation will be presented in detail in coming days, he added.