Hungary Extends Winter Break to Save Energy


Hungarian students' winter break will be extended to save on energy costs, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, said at a weekly press briefing on Thursday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

The winter break will last from December 22 to January 8, Gulyás said.

Government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkirályi said the winter break would be extended "at the cost of" the fall break.

Gulyás said a break will also be ordered at government administrative institutions at the same time as the school holiday, resulting in "significant" energy savings. Staff at such institutions will be required to take out their vacation days during the period, he added. 

Fielding questions, Gulyás dismissed reports concerning "payment freezes" at state institutions, explaining that a measure requiring ministerial approval for expenditures has been applied "many times" before, "this year and in past years". The measure demonstrates the government's commitment to sticking to the deficit target, he added.

Asked about a weakening of the forint to historical lows against the euro and the dollar earlier in the morning, Gulyás noted "significant swings" in exchange rates recently and pointed to the tendency of the forint to weaken against the euro if the euro softens to the dollar. There is "no economic reason" for the forint to weaken, he added.

Gulyás said Hungarians will be surveyed regarding European Union sanctions against Russia that have driven energy prices higher in the framework of a National Consultation from mid-October.

The initiative for the National Consultation - one of many addressing timely issues conducted by the government over the years - was cleared at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.


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