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Orbán Augurs Inflation Slowdown in March

Government

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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said government measures to reduce inflation will become "palpable" in March in a weekly interview on public radio on Friday.

Orbán told Kossuth rádió the government has given the economy a "shot in the arm" with measures to bring down inflation but said the remedy "needs a little time to work".

"I think that in the month of March that will be palpable: the scale of price increases will slow," he said.

He added that inflation would fall into the single digits by December.

Hungary's CPI reached 25.7% in January.

Addressing the matter of the applications of Finland and Sweden to join NATO, Orbán said Hungary has a "kind of moral obligation" to ratify membership "if it doesn't go against Hungary's interests".

"That's why I asked the leaders of the [ruling] parliamentary group to back the NATO membership of Sweden and Finland," he added.

He said Turkey's "serious objections" must also be heard, noting that civil groups are operating in Sweden that fit Turkey's legal definition of "terrorist organizations".

 "Turkey has asked for guarantees on this matter, but has not received them yet," he added.

"If there isn't a solution to the Turkish problem, nothing will come of the [NATO] enlargement," he said.

Orbán said Fidesz MPs have aired concerns over Finland's and Sweden's applications for NATO membership because of the risk posed by Finland's border with Russia and because of the "spreading of lies about Hungary" regarding rule of law and democracy.

He said there are "convincing" arguments to be made for accepting the risk posed by Finland's shared border with Russia, while the matter of reciprocal fair treatment should be discussed between MPs of the countries.

"I'd like to make it clear that we back Sweden's and Finland's accession to NATO on the basis of principle, but some serious discussions are needed before that," he added.

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