Energy Crisis Requires Public Intervention in Corporate Sector - Nagy
Minister for Economic Development Márton Nagy said that addressing the energy crisis requires public intervention in the corporate sector at an event organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary.
He told the audience that due to the very challenging times, it is important to step out and talk with the companies about possible problems.
"I will spend much more time meeting with companies. My door is open to everyone," Nagy said.
He argues that the foundations of the Hungarian economy are strong but there are more and more asymmetries arising within the indicators, which means that the government has to be very targeted in its support.
Nagy then explained that energy prices in both Europe and Asia both went up, especially compared with prices in the United States.
He also argues that Europe may have a hard time after the EU oil embargo against Russia comes into effect after December. Currently, there is a more than USD 20 spread between the price of Ural and Brent, and stopping deliveries via sea might exacerbate the energy crisis on the continent. Still, he noted, Hungary will keep receiving oil from Russia thanks to an embargo exemption applied to oil deliveries via pipeline.
The minister envisioned three ways to tackle the current energy crisis. The first way dubbed the "Great Reset", is essentially letting some of the ineffective sectors go and putting the domestic industrial policy on a new basis.
The second way, which Nagy called "Helping Everyone", or the "German Way" is helping all sectors equally with a large amount of money, which has significant budgetary implications.
The third way, or the "Hungarian Way", as referred to by the minister, is a targeted industrial support policy, taking into account the budgetary constraints.
"We do not leave anyone behind but at the same time, it is crucial to subsidize in a targeted manner," he told the audience.
In order to help companies deal with rising energy costs, the government has envisioned three pillars of support.
The first one is an "Energy Cost and Investment Endowment Program for Manufacturing SMEs", which is currently in motion. The program aims at alleviating the financial burden of increased energy costs to provide energy-intensive Hungarian manufacturing SMEs with financial support when investing in energy efficiency while also considering job security aspects.
The second one is the so-called "Factory Rescue Program", which is still in development. Its main goal is to provide investment support for the 50-100 biggest manufacturing companies with a focus on aiding their energy efficiency investments.
The third pillar is the "Job Protection Program", which is not under implementation at the moment, but will become an option if unemployment starts to rise, Nagy said. The instruments, in this case, will be tax burden reliefs and simplified tax conditions with easier requirements.
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