“The only antidote to war inflation is peace! The government is protecting the Hungarian people with ‘price stops’ and utility price cuts,” wrote Alexandra Szentkirályi on her Facebook page.
The government spokeswoman, who is also the wife of Hungary’s defense minister, proudly stated that Hungary was practically the only government in Europe not talking about wars and sanctions, but peace and security. As she wrote:
The economic effects of the war, however, have spilled over onto us. As a result of the sanctions, basic foodstuffs, in addition to energy, have become more expensive. This is why the Hungarian government decided to introduce official fixed prices on some basic grocery items.
“The only problem with this statement,” writes Magyar Hang, “is that it is not true.”
Whether Szentkirályi’s slip was intentional or not, the truth is that Viktor Orbán first announced the introduction of official prices for certain food items on January 12. The prime minister unambiguously cited high energy prices across Europe for the decision, which also indirectly made other basic foodstuffs more expensive.
According to the government decree that appeared in the Official Gazette, wheat flour, crystal sugar, refined sunflower oil, pork leg, chicken breasts and backs, and UHT milk with a fat content of 2.8% must be sold at the exact prices each one was on October 15 last year.
The official price cap was first announced to last until May, but later extended until July 1. The government announced on Thursday that the officially-set prices for these goods would stay in place until October 1.
However, the Russian war against Ukraine began on February 24, more than a month after Orbán’s announcement. [Magyar Hang]