Chief of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás presented the decisions made during the Wednesday cabinet meeting at the Government Info press conference on Thursday in Budapest. He underscored that the government has reviewed the family support system with the primary intention to encourage young couples to have children.
The minister announced that the maximum amount of the childbirth incentive loan (Babaváró hitel) will increase to 11 million forints. This change will come into effect in 2024 and will apply to couples where the woman is under 30 years old. The minister added that it will also be possible for women between the ages of 30 and 40 to take out the loan if they are confirmed to be pregnant. Furthermore, the government has tasked Minister János Csák with designing additional family support systems.
Regarding the Rural Family Housing Support Programme (Falusi CSOK), Gulyás explained that this model primarily operates in smaller settlements, as bank lending has virtually ceased due to high interest rates. He stated that the current rules will remain in effect in rural areas,
and the funding limit will be increased by 50 per cent.
However, it will not be available in settlements with a population of over 5,000, as new regulations will be worked out those residing in larger towns.
Gergely Gulyás also presented that, according to forecasts, inflation is expected to reach 15 per cent in August, necessitating a change in measures. The minister stated that a price monitoring system will be introduced, while the mandatory discounts in stores will continue. He reiterated that in the future, SZÉP cards will also be available for the purchasing of cold food.
The minister also announced that the food price caps will be extended for one more month, but they will be phased out as of August as they have fulfilled their purpose. Forecasts indicate that inflation is decreasing. At the same time, food retailers mandatory discounts will be increased from 10 to 15 per cent. The mandatory scheme will also be expanded to include products that were previously subject to price caps. The minister was asked about the inflationary impact of ending price caps, to which he stated that there are different opinions on this matter. While abolishing price caps could have an inflationary effect, mandatory discounts will remain in place and will be expanded, so the overall impact on inflation of these measures is expected to be minimal.
In terms of the euro, Gulyás stated that Hungary committed to introducing the Euro upon joining the European Union, but without a specific deadline. He believes that the situation has changed so much since then that the question now arises as to whether this obligation still exists. According to him, the discussion on introducing the Euro can only take place when Hungary reaches ninety per cent of the EU’s average level of development.
Regarding the helicopter accident that took place in Croatia yesterday, the minister expressed his condolences once again. Gulyás revealed only limited details about the accident, stating that the investigation is ongoing and the causes cannot be determined at this point. He declared that the Hungarian Armed Forces consider the deceased Hungarian soldiers as their own dead, and will take care of the funerals and the families. He expressed that he would leave it to the military to decide when to disclose the names and life stories of the soldiers who died while on active duty.
When asked by a journalist about Hungary’s support for Ukraine receiving 50 billion euros from the EU, Gulyás noted that he finds it outrageous that financing is channelled into the aid even from those who have not received any funds in the current seven-year budgetary cycle. ‘We don’t know by what authority they give the money to someone else,’ he emphasised. The possibility was raised that Hungary might veto the European Union sending such a large amount of money to Ukraine. According to the minister, the government takes EU law seriously, but they first expect an explanation from Brussels in order to understand the arguments. ‘We consider everything possible,’ he added.
In response to a journalist’s question, inquiring about the decision of Budapest Mayor Karácsony not allow traffic back onto the Chain Bridge citing the majority will of Budapesters expressed in an online consultation, the minister reminded that the government support related to the reconstruction of the Chain Bridge was tied to the restoration of previous traffic levels, and all must comply with the laws. The minister was also asked about the announcement by Gergely Karácsony that the Municipality of Budapest would not pay its taxes to the budget, to which the minister reiterated, ‘laws must be obeyed.’
In response to a question about the new law on the legal status of teachers, Gulyás declared that guarantees regarding the transferring of teachers are being incorporated into the limitations. He noted that modifications were made based on the proposal of the Ministry of Interior and emphasised that the government’s aim is not to redirect teachers from one school to another.
The minister stated that the government will increase pensions in line with the level of inflation, while closely monitoring the developments this year. He predicted that the autumn data will be more favourable than what the government previously anticipated. If the target of 15 per cent inflation is not achievable, the cabinet will provide a compensation to retirees, he pledged.