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It is unfair for the state to owe pensioners, Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, said over the weekend in connection with the government’s recently announced pension hike. Gulyás announced earlier this week that pensions will increase by a further 3.9% from July in light of higher than expected inflation, bringing the overall pension hike to 8.9%. Speaking to public broadcaster Kossuth Radio, Gulyás said the government knows that inflation will be higher than what had been projected prior to the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. The 3.9% pension increase will make it easier to address the difficulties posed by inflation, he said, adding that the increased pension will be paid retroactively from the start of the year in one go.
Meanwhile, Gulyás also spoke about the method Hungary uses to pay for its gas imports from Russia, noting it had opened a euro account with Gazprom Bank which converts the euros transferred to its account by the Hungarian state into roubles. “There are nine other countries using the same payment scheme, but because today in Europe the idea of being a good European also means that the leaders of those countries are not honest when speaking either in the international arena or to their own people, the other nine countries won’t say that they are doing the same thing,” Gulyás said. “There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that countries importing raw materials from Russia use exactly the same method to pay for Russian gas.”
He said that because soaring energy prices required the government to supplement funding from the central budget, the government would need to regularly examine whether the price cap on fuel and staple foods could be maintained. Hungarian oil and gas company MOL is also undertaking a significant burden in order to ensure that the retail price of fuel can be kept at 480 forints (EUR 1.27) per litre, he said.