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Hungary's government has decided to extend the price caps on basic foodstuffs and fuel, the prime minister's chief of staff said over the weekend.

The freeze on retail mortgage rates, which was set to expire on Dec. 31, will also be extended by at least six months, Gergely Gulyás told a regular press briefing. The government is doing everything in its power to ensure that the economic situation allows for these measures to be prolonged and for utility bills to be kept low, Gulyás said, calling the measures “the biggest family support scheme in Europe”. He also said that if the war in Ukraine ended or if the European Union were to lift the energy sanctions on Russia, the prices of oil and gas would “go down by half the next day”. Gulyás said the war and the related sanctions had led to “a brutal rise in energy prices”, which had caused inflation, particularly in the price of food products. This has in turn led to soaring fuel prices, he added. Gulyás noted that the government had introduced measures as early as last autumn to shield Hungarian families from price increases. He said the price caps needed to be extended because “as long as the sanctions are in effect, there is no realistic chance of the situation improving”.