Budapest, January 24 (MTI) – The ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrats plan to decide at Friday’s group meeting about further cutting gas prices in April as part of the government’s public utility scheme, group leader Antal Rogan told daily Magyar Nemzet.

In an interview published on Friday, Rogan said electricity and district heating prices are also planned to be cut by varying extent later in the year. Companies owned by public municipalities can expect to receive compensation in connection with the district heating price cut but the energy office will assess the conditions for efficient operation, he added.

Rogan, who is also the head of parliament’s economic committee, said that if the current ruling parties get the support of the public at the spring election, then a boost for loans granted at reference rates will be an important element of the next government term. This will result in a drop in lending rates and will be especially important in the retail sector, he added.

In order for real competition to develop in the banking sector, new players will need to enter the market, Rogan said. It is most likely that there will be acquisitions to strengthen the position of Hungarian banks, he added.

“I’d be glad to see for instance Takarekbank to become a strong player in the market for banks,” he said.

As regards the state’s role in strengthening the sector, he said what’s needed is tighter regulations. The new law on savings cooperatives and the strengthening of Takarekbank have been part of these efforts and a law on bank consolidation will also be necessary, he added.

If the top court Kuria passes a legal conformity decision in connection with FX loans by March, then the Fidesz-Christian Democrats will propose an extraordinary parliamentary session. However, if the decision is not made by March, then it is unlikely that this topic can be discussed in parliament during the spring session, Rogan said. Still, he recommended to all FX loan holders to make use of the extended exchange rate cap scheme to allow more borrowers to join it. This can reduce burdens by nearly one-third at the moment, he added.

Commenting on plans to upgrade the Paks Nuclear Power Station, he said “it is evident that the modernisation of the Paks Nuclear Power Station is a basic interest for Hungary and even those that criticise the contract know this.” A campaign is under way, so the left-wing parties have changes sides in this.

“Bajnai, Mesterhazy and Gyurcsany were arguing for the upgrade of the nuclear power station when they were in government. And now they argue against it. They cannot be taken seriously,” Rogan said.

He said he expected the campaign to include strong attacks against Fidesz politicians, including attacks on a personal level. Fidesz has learnt from past mistakes and is now much better prepared.

The party’s campaign will involve explaining to the people what the Gyurcsany coalition did when in government and also placing great emphasis on the achievements of the current government, Rogan said.



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