Hungary must defend the achievements of its public utility cost reduction scheme, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday.
In a regular interview with public broadcaster Kossuth Rádió, the prime minister said Brussels wanted to raise electricity and fuel prices on the grounds of fighting climate change. Brussels wants to introduce “a complex system” to tax families with cars and homes but the Visegrád Group countries are resisting such a step and will not approve at next week’s European Union summit any decision that would raise electricity and gas prices, he said.
Orbán said that though it was important to fight climate change, its costs should be borne by the world’s top emitting companies rather than households.
This, he said, required an energy price regulatory framework and the elimination of speculative elements, and warned that “when we allow money into areas where it has no place . there will always be a problem.”
households in Vienna and Berlin today were paying two to three times more for electricity and gas than in Budapest,
adding that gas prices were eight times as high in Sweden as in Hungary.
The prime minister noted that the “years-long fight” to cut utility prices was one of his government’s first battles with Brussels. If utility prices in Hungary were set by the market,
an average Hungarian family would be paying 380,000-400,000 forints (EUR 1,060-1,110) more in utility costs annually,
Orbán said the previous Socialist-liberal governments had given multinational energy companies permission to raise prices about 15 times, adding that the leftist opposition in parliament “is again demanding that the government introduce market prices for gas and electricity”.