István Ujhelyi is calling on the government to introduce a monthly coupon worth twenty thousand forints, redeemable only for basic foodstuffs.
The MSZP MEP spoke about this at his online press conference on Tuesday, where he said that in view of the pressing inflation situation, he proposes the introduction of an electronic ticket system for single-parent families, families with at least two children, pensioners with lower incomes, the severely disabled, the homeless and the unemployed on social welfare, the entitlement to which he would also extend to students receiving social grants. According to Ujhelyi, this monthly voucher, which would only be granted until the end of the inflation crisis, would be redeemable only for basic foodstuffs and consumer durables.
“Hungarians must be given a chance to make a living. We have been hit by an insane monetary crisis, which we are not accustomed to, where wages and pensions simply cannot keep up with this inflationary pressure”; Ujhelyi said. The Socialist MEP pointed out that the European Commission had recently been forced to make negative changes to its forecasts for inflation and growth in Hungary, and that there has already been a significant shift in food prices: bread and poultry meat are 30% more expensive, dairy products cost over 20% more, and eggs, for example, are 25% more expensive.
According to Ujhelyi, the announcement by the Fidesz prime minister that the price freeze already introduced for previously defined foodstuffs will be extended is not enough: much more is needed. The Social Democrat politician added that the introduction of food coupons was raised by former MSZP politician Zoltán Gőgös in an earlier interview, and recently the Romanian government introduced a similar measure, helping more than three million people in need to make ends meet. Ujhelyi pointed out that Romania is basically providing this support from EU funds, which the Hungarian government could do if it could finally agree on the release of the EU funds Hungary is entitled to. “If the government joins the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, if it puts the rule of law in order, then the funds will be freed up and we can expect to receive around 18 thousand billion forints in subsidies in the coming years. “As an MEP, I take responsibility and pledge that if the government will be less arrogant and less combative, and if it will come to an agreement with the European Union, we will find the resources to provide this significant support in the form of a voucher to the people concerned”; Ujhelyi said, adding that he would ask the MSZP parliamentary group to submit proposals related to the introduction of the food voucher to the House.
Budapest/Brussels – 17/05/2022