Gov't Weighs Expansion of Price Caps

Government

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán

Photo by Ilyas Tayfun Salci / Shutterstock.com

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the government will decide in the coming weeks on expanding the list of products with centrally-regulated prices in an interview on public radio on Friday.

"There will be new products for which we want to centrally cap prices," Orbán said in the weekly interview with Kossuth Rádió.

He conceded that such measures generate "enormous debate" which the government must address.

The government earlier rolled back prices for a number of staples, including pork, cooking oil, and flour, in an effort to dampen inflation. It has also capped prices at the pump for private individuals with vehicles registered in Hungary.

Commenting on a European Commission initiative on joint European Union gas procurement, Orbán said Hungary is "more skilled" at getting gas independently and sees no reason to "give up" that ability in exchange for making joint purchases.

He said Europe may not have as much gas as needed, "but that doesn't apply to Hungary". "Hungary has signed...long-term contracts that guarantee its gas supply," he added.

"We must heat in winter, industry must function, the conditions for this are in place," he said. He also acknowledged that the price of Hungary's Russian gas is linked to the price of gas on European markets. "If gas is dearer on European markets, it automatically raises prices of gas consumed in Hungary," he said. 

Addressing "acts of terrorism" that have made the Nord Stream gas pipelines inoperable, he said Hungary will defend its interests attached to the TurkStream pipeline through which the country gets most of its Russian gas.

"We will not allow anybody to ruin that pipeline like they did in the north," he added.

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