Romania may copy Hungary’s food price cap as inflation rises

Farmers' market in Bucharest. (Romania Libera)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Marcel Ciolacu — the leader of the Romanian Social-Democrat party (PSD), which is one of the three parties in the current governing coalition — said on Tuesday that a reduction in VAT would not have the impact that the coalition leaders want, but that he is considering another solution, namely the price cap recently introduced in Hungary.

He added that the PSD will address at the coalition meeting the subject of a possible capping on commodity prices, such as sugar, flour, eggs.

“We have had the discussion before, and the VAT reduction will not have the impact we all want. Maybe a cap on commodity prices, at some point, is wroth a discussion. We did not have this discussion in the coalition, and today we will have a discussion. At the EU level, as you well know, we have made a reduction in food, so some foods have a substantial reduction in VAT.

“Flour, sugar, milk, definitely. This is how it is done in Hungary, and it is normal. Can’t buy the truck, do you export capped products? We are talking about a cap on commodities. I’m not a specialist. I don’t know how much flour a family consumes. I saw in Hungary that studies are being done. These things do not come from politicians, but from specialists. Do I have to tell you how many eggs you are allowed to buy?” Ciolacu said on Tuesday at the parliament.

In an additional effort to help citizens cope with rising inflation, Hungary has frozen the prices for six basic food groups at their Oct. 15, 2021 level, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced on Jan. 12. The price came into effect on Feb. 1.

The six food items are sugar, wheat flour, sunflower oil, pork leg, chicken breast, and 2.8 percent fat milk.

On Nov. 12, the Hungarian government announced it is freezing gas and diesel prices at 480 forints (€1.31) per liter for three months starting Monday, Nov. 15.

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