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National Bank president criticizes government

December 10th, 2022

A left-wing columnist calls on the Prime Minister to step down, after the President of the National Bank informed a parliamentary committee that Hungary is on the brink of an economic crisis. A pro-government pundit finds both this suggestion, and Mr Matolcsy’s criticism unfounded.

Addressing the Economic Committee of Parliament, National Bank president György Matolcsy said that the Hungarian economy is on the brink of a deep crisis. Mr Matolcsy criticized government policies including price caps (describing them as an emulation of failed state socialist policies), and also dismissed the government’s claim that inflation is caused by the war in Ukraine and subsequent EU sanctions on Russia. Mr Matolcsy called on the government to launch major programs to incentivize energy investments in order to decrease the country’s dependence on imported energy. Minister of Finance Mihály Varga acknowledged that Hungary is facing tough challenges, but expressed confidence that  government policies will help Hungary avoid recession.

Népszava’s Zsolt Papp demands that after Matolcsy’s devastating criticism, Prime Minister Orbán should retire from office. The left-wing commentator interprets the analysis by the President of the National Bank as proof that opposition parties were correct to claim that the government was mismanaging the Hungarian economy. Papp predicts that the government will not be able to maintain the veneer of success and will lose power sooner or later.

Responding to Papp in Magyar Nemzet, György Pilhál dismisses the suggestion that the government is unable to manage the current crisis. Without mentioning by name either Matolcsy or his critical remarks, the pro-government commentator finds it absurd for critics of the government’s price caps to call them remnants of state-socialist times, while welcoming the EU’s price cap on Russian energy.

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