Gergely Gulyás: Price freezes will remain in place until at least June 30

At today’s Government Info session, Gergely Gulyás, the minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office, addressed the most recent developments in the war in Ukraine, including concerns over the war escalating to become a nuclear conflict. He additionally discussed what the government is doing to crack down on inflation, the extension of food price caps, and Ukraine undercutting domestic farmers.

Regarding the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Minister Gulyás first told reporters at the meeting that the Hungarian government continues to be “consistent in its humanitarian and economic aid, while at the same time, it considers it paramount that NATO must not get involved in any war because that would mean a world war fought with nuclear weapons.”

On this note, the minister repeatedly stressed that “the Government remains firmly pro-peace,” which is why it does not allow any arms shipments to pass through the country.

Gergely Gulyás reiterated that the government promotes sitting down to negotiate and initiating a ceasefire. The opposing viewpoint holds that the war should continue as long as Russian troops are within Ukraine's borders; however, he added that those who support the latter stance want the war to last for years.

Of utmost concern on this front is the appearance of weapons on the front lines containing radiological agents, bringing the continent ever closer to the prospects of nuclear war, Gulyás said.

Moving on to domestic topics, the minister said that the current price freezes will remain in effect until at least June 30 this year.

On the topic of inflation, Minister Gulyás noted that the government is maintaining its determined trajectory for inflation, namely to reach single digits by December, and that it welcomes the Central Bank’s intention to cut the base rate.

In order to maintain the competitiveness of vulnerable sectors, the government decided on Wednesday that micro-enterprises will now only have to pay the residential electricity price of HUF 70/KwH instead of the business price of HUF 165/KwH above average consumption.

The minister also reported several developments involving the agriculture sector. To mitigate the damage done by the drought last summer, the government will cover the cost of agricultural irrigation this year. “This equates to 10 billion forints,” according to Minister Gulyás.

Regarding the devastating glut of Ukrainian agricultural products on the market, the minister explained that new regulations were introduced; namely, the government has made notification to its electronic database that tracks goods transported inside Hungary (EKR) compulsory for any cereals and oilseeds intended for import from other countries.

He added that transit shipments through Hungary are still possible, but any products passing through Hungary will be regularly monitored by the authorities. He said that Hungary is ready to help Ukraine, but the limit to solidarity is the need to protect Hungarian farmers.

Minister Gulyás noted that the government is working together with the EC to reach a permanent solution, saying that on Wednesday, Agriculture Minister István Nagy had held talks with the European Commission.

The minister added that thanks to this, Brussels seems willing to adopt a concrete proposal to tackle the market difficulties caused by Ukrainian grain imports.