PM Orbán vows to cut inflation by at least half before end of 2023

The prime minister attributed rampant inflation to European Union sanctions against Russia.

In a radio interview, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that he has asked the governor of the central bank and the finance minister to take measures to cut inflation “by half at the least” before the end of 2023.

PM Orbán attributed rampant inflation to European Union sanctions against Russia, adding that “if only the EU saw” the connection between the two then some prices, including energy prices, “could be halved within days”. High inflation is not caused by market trends or the economy, it was “caused from outside, by politics”, he insisted. PM Orbán said his government was experienced in handling inflation as it had “inherited 10-15 percent inflation in 1998”. Inflation forces families to live off their savings, he said, adding that anti-inflationary measures, therefore, were “family protection measures”. Meanwhile, PM Orbán said the Nord Stream gas pipeline explosion was a terrorist act, and “if any state had a role in it, that state is a terrorist state”. The last high-capacity pipeline delivering Russian gas to Europe from the south is the TurkStream, he noted. “If anybody blows it up or renders it inoperable, Hungary will view that as a terrorist attack and act accordingly,” PM Orbán said. 

Concerning the government’s upcoming National Consultation survey, PM Orbán said the government habitually consulted the public on important matters and used the outcome as a political tool “in fights in Brussels”. PM Orbán said the sanctions against Russia had been introduced in an undemocratic way, based on decisions by the “Brussels bureaucrats and the European elite”. “There’s still a democracy in Europe and it matters what people think,” he said. In Hungary, the public is regularly involved in decision-making “about the most difficult questions facing Europe”, be it migration, the handling of the Covid-19 epidemic or the current sanctions, he added. Referring to migration, PM Orbán said “what we need … is to protect our borders against illegal entrants”, adding that illegal border crossing was a crime. Rather than having crowds of illegal migrants at the Serbia-Hungary border, Serbia’s southern borders should be protected, which is “in everybody’s interest”, he said. Hungary’s borders must be protected, PM Orbán said. The country “won’t be turned into a refugee camp … migrants will not enter, and we will not be told by others whom we should live together with”, he added. That latter decision “could exclusively be passed by a parliament elected by the Hungarian people and the government”, the prime minister said.