‘Until there is peace and Brussels withdraws the sanctions, inflation cannot be stopped. Hungary can moderate inflation, and the government’s intention is to have inflation in single digits by the end of the year’, emphasised the Prime Minister in his pre-agenda speech.
The session was opened by László Kövér, Speaker of the National Assembly. Before the proceedings started, the Members of Parliament observed a minute of silence in memory of the recent passing of four former representatives: László Kordás, Imre Mécs, Sándor Polyák, and Miklós Gáspár Tamás.
The first speaker before the agenda was Máté Kanász-Nagy, who asked about the CATL battery factory set to open in Debrecen—Zsófia Koncz, representing the government, provided an answer and defended the project. Bence Tordai took the floor next, and criticised the absence of the Prime Minister, who arrived later to the meeting and also spoke up. Tordai expressed his concerns about the economic performance of the Orbán government as well. Csaba Dömötör from the governing Fidesz party listed the economic achievements of the current administration in response, and claimed that, if it were up to the opposition, Hungary would not be in good shape. The Parliamentary State Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet also asked: ‘How much the left’s plan to send arms to Ukraine would have cost?’ Dömötör argued that as long as the left does not prioritise the interests of Hungarians—that is, does not change its dollar-centred position—they will continue to perform as badly in elections as they did in April 2022.
Dóra Dúró was next to speak up. The representative talked about, among other things, the real value of family subsidies decreasing. According to her party Our Homeland Movement (Mi Hazánk Mozgalom), these payments should be tied to the inflation rate. Once again, Bence Rétvári responded on behalf of the government. The Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Interior highlighted that family subsidies have increased by one trillion forints due to the government’s family-centred policy, and also reminded the House that the scope of family support is set to keep expanding.
At the beginning of his prior-notice speech, István Hiller stated that the era of county assemblies had come again. Following a few sentences in Latin, the representative also pointed out that the official language of the Hungarian Kingdom was Latin. At the end of his speech, he asked the government to respond in Latin, but László Kövér told him that no representative should make such a demand.
It was Rétvári’s turn again to respond. He did command Hiller’s knowledge of the Latin language, but expressed disappointment that his fellow representative had mocked historical tradition. ‘We are proud of Saint Stephen, who built the Hungarian administration, thus, we stand up against your ridicule’, said Bence Rétvári.
Miklós Hajnal from the Momentum Party said that in their opinion, the government only likes national consultations if they can write the questions themselves. On behalf of the government, Zsófia Koncz, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, told the politician that there are clear rules on the books on how referendums should be held.
Varjú László from the Democratic Coalition shared his opinion that the recent price hike for a kilogram (2 lbs) of bread only happened ‘because the Prime Minister’s name is Viktor Orbán’. This time, András Tállai, State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, provided the governing party’s rebuttal. The representative pointed out that the primary cause of wartime inflation is, in fact, the war.
At the beginning of Lőrinc Nacsa’s speech, he jokingly noted the irony of the LMP representatives’ laptops having the inscription ‘Stop battery factories’ on them, while those same laptops are also operating on batteries. The representative went on to criticise EU sanctions in his speech.
‘LBGTQ propaganda endangers children,’ said Gabriella Selmeczi when her time came to talk. The Fidesz representative emphasised that there is no place for LGBTQ propaganda in kindergartens and schools. The Fidesz faction unanimously supports Viktor Orbán in making Hungary’s child protection law as strict as possible.
The Hungarian Government Is On the Side of Peace
As we wrote above, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also took the floor at the pre-agenda meeting. ‘It has become very clear that energy prices will not return to pre-war levels. The Brussels sanctions and high energy prices have brought inflation. Hungary spent 4 trillion forints more on energy in 2022 than in 2021. The EU took this sum out of the pockets of Hungarians.’, he stated in his speech.
‘In 2022, the budget deficit and state debt were reduced’, he continued. Regarding this year, Orbán highlighted that seniors receive a 15 per cent raise on their pensions, while mothers with four children or more do not have to pay personal income tax.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that his administration is concerned that Europe is gradually getting involved in the war. After weapons and tanks, now even fighter jets are deployed. It is also suspected that some countries may even want to send troops to Ukraine.
‘However, in the 2022 election, the Hungarian people made it clear that they want to stay out of the war, therefore Hungary will refrain from sending weapons to Ukraine. The fighting can only be stopped by a ceasefire and peace negotiations. Most of the world, along with Hungary, is on the side of peace. We must not fall for any provocations’ the Prime Minister stressed.
Referring to the Brussels sanctions, the Prime Minister said that while Brussels targeted the Russians with these punitive measures, they ended up hitting Europe instead.
‘As long as there is no peace and Brussels does not lift the sanctions, inflation cannot be eliminated. Hungary can moderate inflation, and the government intends to bring inflation down to single digits by the end of the year’, as Viktor Orbán put it. The Prime Minister listed the government’s measures that have been put in place for this purpose. These include:
- support for SMEs,
- agricultural moratorium to protect Hungarian farmers,
- a tourism action plan,
- acceleration of the use of SZÉP Cards,
- support for commuting to work.
Among the measures taken to protect families are:
- protection of reduced utility prices (families can save up to HUF 181,000 per month, which is the highest utility subsidy for families in Europe),
- tripled minimum wage and increased guaranteed minimum wage,
- reinstated the 13th-month pension,
- extended and expanded the food price freeze,
- interest rate freeze on loans for households (protecting 350,000 families),
- interest rate freeze on student loans (protecting 250,000 students),
- reduced costs of basic accounts,
- reduced burden on home insurance,
- discounted county and national passes,
- social firewood programme.
The Prime Minister also went on to say that ‘multinational corporations have made extra profits from the increased energy prices caused by the sanctions. Some of this surplus must be paid back in taxes by these companies, which the government will transfer to the utility subsidy fund’.
Here’s what PM Orbán had to say about a number of other topical issues:
On the explosion of the Nord Stream
‘The explosion of the Nord Stream was an act of terror, regardless of who carried it out. If this were to happen with the southern pipeline as well, Croatia and Hungary have made it clear: it cannot and would not be dismissed as it was in the case of the Nord Stream’.
On the school paedophile scandal
‘As adults, it is our job to protect children,’ highlighted the Prime Minister. He also pointed out that this shameful incident is a testament to the need to take gender propaganda seriously. PM Orbán called on representatives, regardless of party affiliation, to cooperate in protecting children.
On the earthquake in Turkey
‘Turkey is our friend, and even our ally,’ stated Orbán Viktor regarding the earthquake in Turkey, and thanked the Hungarian rescue teams who were among the first to travel to the sight to rescue survivors.
On the compatriots in Transcarpathia
‘So, in 2023, we must simultaneously fight against the dangers of war, sanctioned inflation, and the migration threatening our southern borders, while standing up for our compatriots beyond the border. You can see that 2023 is a dangerous year…With the power of unity, let us help Hungary overcome this dangerous period,’ concluded Viktor Orbán.