“The reduction of utility charges implemented by the Government is in the interests of the Hungarian people. Through the National Consultation, the Government is, among others, asking people to help protect the values of the utility charge reduction”, the Ministry of National Development’s Minister of State for Energy András Aradszki emphasised at a press conference on Tuesday in Budapest.

“Brussels is preparing to take a dangerous step forcing Hungary to repeal the reduction of utility charges and allow multinational companies to set the retail prices for electricity and gas”, Mr. Aradszki said.

“The market price is always set to serve market players: an important and indispensable instrument of the reduction of utility charges is maintaining regulated prices”, he added.

“The Government is asking everyone to participate in the National Consultation, because their active support and participation provides significant assistance to the Government in its efforts to protect the reduction of utility charges “, the Minister of State said.

Mr. Aradszki noted that since 1 January 2013, the price of electricity and gas has decreased by 25 %, saving Hungarian families HUF 110 000 each year, while further reduction in utility costs have since increased average savings to HUF 170 000.

András Aradszki said it was dangerous to transfer the right and opportunity to set prices to the market. “The price that Hungarian consumers pay for electricity, gas and district heating would no longer be one of the lowest in Europe”, he said, adding that before the reduction of utility charges was introduced, Hungarian consumers paid the highest prices in Europe for these services.

The Minister of State said it was a great achievement that since the Act on the reduction of utility charges came into force the total sum of utility charges owed by consumers has decreased by 52 %, the number of households paying in arrears has fallen by 40 %, and the number of consumers who have had their services terminated due to arrears has been reduced by 31 %.

He also emphasised that the reduction of utility charges has also contributed to keeping inflation low, and accordingly to increasing real wages.

“The Brussels bureaucrats are trying to force Hungary to modify this system through “stealthy law-making”, the mistaken interpretation of their spheres of competence and by violating the sovereignty of the State of Hungary”, the Minister of State said.

“The European Commission has also acknowledged that between 2010 and 2015 energy prices increased in all the countries in which prices were not regulated, meaning in which prices were determined by the market. In Hungary, energy prices have not increased since 1 January 2013”, Mr. Aradszki emphasised.