Addressing the debate of the 2024 budget in parliament, Finance Minister Mihály Varga said the budget was “a defense budget”, adding that in times of war Hungary must guarantee its security, protect families, pensions, and jobs and maintain low utility costs.
Minister Varga said that is why the focus of the budget is to strengthen the scheme to keep utility costs low and boost national defense, adding that Hungary faced challenges on several fronts such as the protracted war and “failed Brussels sanctions” that had resulted in a serious energy crisis in Europe. The additional burdens in energy prices are costing the country more than 1,000 billion forints (EUR 2.7bn), he said. Varga said protecting the country’s results achieved so far was the government’s primary task, adding that financial stability was essential for security. A strong economy combined with budgetary discipline was needed in this regard, he added. The government is committed to reducing inflation to single digits by the end of this year, and inflation is targeted at 6% next year, while the economy is expected to grow by 4% in 2024, the minister said. The public debt as a percentage of GDP will be reduced to 69.7% this year and 66.7% next year, he said, adding that a deficit target of 2.9% of GDP was slated.