The Hungarian government has announced a third round of price cuts for household energy, just months before elections are due.
Utility prices have already been slashed by around 20 percent, the cost of which has mainly been borne by foreign-owned energy providers.
The government says the reductions were needed because Hungarian household energy bills were substantially higher than in other EU countries when taken as a percentage of income.
Antal Rogán, the leader of ruling Fidesz political party, said: “We think that the utility providers are monopolies, so we think of them not as profit-oriented services but non-profit services, and we do not accept too much profit, or if it’s possible not even a little profit in the prices, but we give back the profit to the people. That’s why we began to lower the utility bills significantly.”
These latest price cuts come just after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban signed a nuclear cooperation deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Brussels, however, is concerned about competition in the energy sector.
Andrea Hajagos, euronews’ correspondent in Budapest, said:
“The European Union has already repeatedly expressed its concerns about the cuts of energy prices in Hungary. That is why the Hungarian Parliament received a political request from its Fidesz majority last year asking the government to fight EU bureaucracy.”