The government has made a commitment to push inflation into the single digits before the end of this year which is still a realistic undertaking despite the difficulties, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office told a press briefing on Wednesday.
“It might be achieved in November, but, as also suggested by forecasts, we can certainly deliver on this commitment by December,” said Gulyás, adding that “there are some worrying signs which are related primarily to the fact that fuel prices are now higher than they were before”.
He attributed the soaring fuel prices to the five-fold increase in the transit prices of fuel imported via Ukrainian pipelines.
“Fuel price increases in the past one month have alone increased inflation by half a percent,” he said.
Gulyás said that a European Commission ban imposed on Ukrainian grain imports in five neighbouring countries would expire on September 15 and if the EC does not extend the ban “we will be forced to introduce measures in national authority”.
“We are again asking the EC from here to understand the rationale behind the decision and extend the current import ban”, he said. It would be best to find a solution that meets the original goal which was to help African countries suffering from starvation instead of damaging European agricultural markets, he added.
Gulyás also said that there were serious debates about whether Ukrainian grain met European quality standards.
Instead of the 50 tonnes of Ukrainian grain imported to Hungary before the war, it was 3 million tonnes last year, he said. The Polish government has decided to introduce a similar measure if the EC does not extend the ban, he added.
Gulyás said that in response to calls by the ruling Fidesz group, the government has reassessed its earlier decision on solar panels. The government has decided that the new rules by Brussels must apply only to those who had submitted their applications to install solar panels after September 7.
Referring to the 5th Budapest Demographic Summit to be held on Thursday and Friday, Gulyás said Hungary had made significant progress in the area over the past decade but “we are not yet where we would like to be”.
In 2010, when the civic government of Hungary received its mandate to introduce new demographics policies, the total fertility rate (TFR) was 1.23 and it went up to 1.59 by the end of 2021. This represented a 25.6 percent increase, the largest in the EU over the past decade, he added. Had the previous trend not changed, some 160,000 children would not have been born between 2011 and 2021, he added.
New family policy
At the same time, there are some difficulties, with the number of women of child-bearing age on the decrease, which makes it all the more important that family policy measures remain effective, he said. Gulyás said the cabinet had assessed a proposal on replacing “city CSOK” subsidies in a first reading on Wednesday.
The government is introducing new family policy measures next year that serve the country’s demographics targets and also help people acquire a home, he said.
Gulyás said the president and the prime minister will also address the summit and it will be attended by numerous international guests, including the Italian prime minister and the Bulgarian president.
Government spokesperson Alexandra Szentkirályi congratulated to Hungary’s cave rescue team for a “world-famous achievement” helped also be government bodies. She added that the cave rescue team had been contacted on September 2 concerning an emergency situation in southern Turkey involving a US national stuck in a depth of 1,000 metres. “It tells a lot about the preparedness and attitude of the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service that the European organisation of cave rescue services which coordinated the operations found them “the fastest to mobilise medical team which would be able to not only reach an extreme depth but also work there,” she added.
Szentkirályi said that the government bodies and background institutions made every effort to help the work of the Hungarian rescue team, with the defence ministry providing transport services and the foreign ministry offering HUF 2.5 million for the operation.
Online monitoring system
Government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkirályi said that an online price monitoring website launched by the government had gained popularity with members of the public, with 1.2 million visitors so far spending on average 4 minutes and 20 seconds on the website.
The website has resulted in considerable competition, with prices decreasing an average 7 percent in 55 of the 62 categories it listed, she added.
Fines totalling HUF 72 million have been imposed on retailers so far for refusing to offer mandatory price cuts, she said. It is not acceptable for multinationals to profiteer and damage Hungarian people, she added.
Gergely Gulyás said that an educational film made in Sweden stating that Hungarian democracy had been deteriorating since 2010 was “a baseless accusation and unjustified insult”. If such a film is being shown in state schools, it means that Sweden is making every effort for Hungary not to ratify its NATO accession.
He said he would recommend to the Fidesz group leader that MPs should decide if they want such a country as a member of NATO.
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