The government’s primary focus for the current year is the restoration of economic growth while continuing to reduce the budget deficit and national debt.
Despite the sanctions and the war driving up energy prices, the Hungarian measures to combat inflation and price increases are undeniably working. While EU countries scramble to look for new avenues to import electricity and gas, the Hungarian plans and contracts have managed to keep energy prices at affordable levels for citizens.
The new Task Force set up by the Finance Ministry has been portrayed as a sign of austerity measures to come by the opposition media, however, the Ministry has debunked these speculations in a press release. In their statement, the Ministry assures the people of Hungary that family support schemes and the utility price cap will remain in place.
The 2024 budget is a defence budget because during times of war, Hungary needs a budget that guarantees its security, protects families, pensions, jobs, and reduces utility costs, the Hungarian finance minister stated in parliament on Tuesday.
Europe and Hungary were fortunate to have a mild winter, but ‘a country’s leadership cannot make an unequivocal bet that this will always be repeated,’ Energy Minister Lantos warned. Therefore, the government has decided to raise the level of the security gas reserve. Previously, the country stored 10 per cent of its annual consumption as a security reserve, which was now raised to nearly 2 billion cubic metres, or 20 per cent of consumption, while consumption itself decreased.
While last September, only 40 per cent were satisfied with the transformed utility cost reduction scheme, by March this year the same number rose to 49 per cent. Additionally, the percentage of those dissatisfied dropped from 52 to 44 per cent, the data shows.
After reviewing the energy situation at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the government determined that all necessary resources are at its disposal to keep in place the utility cost reduction programme for households with average energy consumption.
Gergely Gulyás stated that the government believes that it is necessary to prepare for a protracted war and that economic difficulties persist due to the sanctions. He added that Hungary’s position is clear: Hungary condemns Russian aggression and provides humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
The Finnish energy consultancy company VaasaETT recently issued a report that shows Hungarian utility costs to be the lowest in the entire EU.