Orbán: 6-7 utility companies to be re-nationalized

History

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave an interview with Magyar Rádió on Friday that sparked discussion, commentary and speculation in local media throughout the weekend. Headlining everywhere in Hungary was Orbán’s statement that the government plans to nationalize (or de-privatize) six to seven utility companies in the name of lowering household energy prices and revitalizing a stagnant economy.

“I cannot reveal [specifics] yet,” said the PM, “but we are in continuous talks about buying back or getting into state hands at least six or seven very serious [utility companies] that were previously privatized.” No further comment has followed this particular remark, though Orbán did go on to promise that the Fidesz-KDNP government, if reelected, would make public utilities “community-owned” and non-profit within two years.

The state-owned energy group MVM signed an agreement to buy Hungary-based units of Germany-based E.ON in March.

“After the elections, the next Hungarian government will have to answer the question as to how we can reduce our energy price levels to those in the U.S. if we are to compete with them in the world,” said Orbán.

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