In November 2021, Péter Márki-Zay, the candidate for head of government of left-wing parties, said that “the overhead cost reduction introduced by Fidesz is unsustainable”, giving voice to the necessity of a “real overhead cost reduction”, and, regarding the termination of the measure, he also said that “Fidesz itself is likely to be forced to do so because it is completely unsustainable”. Similarly, the mayor of Hódmezővásárhely came up with the promise of creating a “fair, smart and sustainable overhead cost reduction” and then stressed that “After the change of government, we will introduce a real overhead cost reduction that will be sustainable”.
Márki-Zay is attacking the overhead cost reduction with the left’s perennial, unfounded arguments
The left-liberal candidate for prime minister has repeatedly stated that the overhead cost reduction introduced by the civilian government, which has prevailed since 2013, is unsustainable. In this context, Péter Márki-Zay came up with a proposal to introduce a “smart” or a “real overhead cost reduction”, giving the impression that he represents a different concept compared to the previously voiced political ideas of left-wing parties. However, there are signs that the criticisms of overhead cost reduction made by the mayor of Hódmezővásárhely are an integral part of the series of attacks the left-liberal bloc has carried out over the past 9 years against this government action. The new series of analyses made by Századvég, in the light of the current policy statements made by Péter Márki-Zay and his left-liberal allies, retroactively up to 2013 reveals and refutes misleading left-wing allegations, deceptive statements and misunderstandings related to overhead cost reduction.
Márki-Zay expresses a well-established left-liberal stance
The left has been claiming for 9 years that overhead cost reduction is unsustainable
It should be emphasised that left-wing views on overhead cost reduction being a short-term, unsustainable move, which later proved to be unfounded, coincide with the measure in question, as these criticisms have been a key element of left-wing political communication since 2013.
Among others, Nándor Gúr, on behalf of Magyar Szocialista Párt, said in 2013 that regarding the overhead cost reduction, “the end result will be that the burden will not decrease but increase in certain cases.” Gábor Vágó, a former member of LMP, stated that “The government’s measure will not work in the long run, overhead costs will not be lower,” while his former party colleague, András Schiffer, called the government’s measure “a short-term solution”. Also in 2013, on the part of Jobbik, Lajos Kepli “sealed” that after the 2014 parliamentary elections, the overhead cost reduction would be followed by “an increase in charges” in the event of a pro-government victory. From the ex-radical party, Sándor Kiss also envisioned that the population would have to repay the amount saved through the overhead cost reduction after the 2014 elections.
In contrast, the reality is that the government’s overhead cost reduction program has been running for 9 years without interruption. In 2012, the price of household gas in Hungary was HUF 136/cubic metre, and then, due to the overhead cost reduction, in 2015 and 2021, Hungarians had to pay HUF 101/cubic metre for gas.
Interestingly, in the European Union, the average price of the energy carrier in question was HUF 220/cubic metre in 2015 and HUF 242 in 2021. Before the introduction of the overhead cost reduction, the electricity tariff in Hungary in 2012 was HUF 48.5/kilowatt hour, but in 2015 and 2021 the Hungarian population only had to pay HUF 36.6/kilowatt hour for it.
In 2012, before the introduction of the overhead cost reduction, the electricity tariff in Hungary was HUF 48.5/kilowatt hour, but in 2015 and 2021 the Hungarian population only had to pay HUF 36.6/kilowatt hour for it.
The average price of electricity in the European Union was HUF 65/kilowatt hour in 2015 and HUF 79/kilowatt hour in 2021 (source: CSO for Hungarian data, Eurostat for European data).
It is clear that
the statement of Márki-Zay mentioned are not new in terms of content compared to the overhead policy standpoint taken by the left for many years.
The mayor of Hódmezővásárhely merely “recycled” the criticisms of sustainability related to the overhead cost reduction made by left-liberal forces, which he had previously promised his supporters to replace.