Orbán freezes prices to contain inflation and secure his re-election

On January 12, the Prime Minister announced a freeze on the prices of star commodities in Hungarian baskets such as oil and ham. The opposition media see it as a demagogic decision, as Orbán seeks re-election in April. The pro power titles, they welcome a measure offering a little air to households.

The kilo of granulated sugar, wheat flour, ham and chicken breast, the liter of sunflower oil and that of semi-skimmed milk. The prices of these products popular with Hungarians will return on February 1 to their level of October 15, 2021, while Hungary is experiencing record inflation (6.6% in 2021).

Viktor Orbán, the Magyar leader, announced the news on Facebook on Wednesday January 12, at the end of the first council of ministers of the year 2022. The next day, his chief of staff, Gergely Gulyás, formalized the addition of the back kilo of chicken from the list of foodstuffs affected by the measure.

The pro-power portal Origo welcome a decision “Courageous and unprecedented intended to contain the increase in prices”, further specifying that the Fidesz executive had “Reduced to 5% the VAT of basic foods such as pork, poultry, eggs, milk and fish, between 2014 and 2018”.

Defense of families

“The food price freeze fits well with the government’s anti-inflation policy in defense of families. The previous measures, namely lowering energy prices, capping fuels and freezing mortgage interest, serve the same purpose ”, comments Viktor Orbán’s economic advisor to the specialized daily World economy.

Food price freeze “Will apply for three months initially” and the tax authorities “Will examine the data of the electronic cash registers” in order to see if traders comply with the regulations, reports the public audiovisual site Híradó.hu. “Previous leftist governments have kept increasing VAT on food. Today, the opposition timidly promises to cap at 5% that of basic products if it comes to power ”, mock Hungarian Nation.

Electoral measure

Ironically on the blocking decreed by the executive, the satirical portal Newsstand offers a set of mild recipes with the targeted products. Examples: a “Milk chicken with flour ham”, a “Milk soup with bits of chicken back”, a “Chicken breast in pieces on a bed of sugar” or one “Beef stew reimagined” made with chicken breasts or pork thighs, simmered in a mixture of oil,

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Joël Le Pavous

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