Week Ahead (4 April)
W/C Monday, 4 April - Fidesz to be confirmed as Hungary's largest party following election victory
Fidesz will this week be confirmed as the largest party in Hungary following its landslide victory in Sunday's National Assembly elections. Preliminary results indicate that it has strengthened its position as the largest party in Hungary, defeating the six-party United For Hungary coalition. The party, led by Viktor Orbán, has 53% of the vote, with United For Hungary well behind on 35%. At the time of writing 98% of votes had been counted.
The result will come as a blow to European Union efforts to present a united front in its efforts to combat Russian aggression in Ukraine. Orbán is seen as an ally of Vladimir Putin, although he has condemned the invasion and supported sanctions on Russia to date. However, Hungary will not support efforts to impose a ban on Russian gas and oil imports to Europe. In March, Orbán noted that 90% of homes in Hungary are heated by gas and that a large majority of its imports originate in Russia. He added that while Hungary had condemned the war, he did not want Hungarian citizens "to be made to pay the cost of war", a message which clearly resonated with the Hungarian electorate.
Monday, 4 April – Eurogroup to discuss trade-offs in the design of digital euro
On 14 July 2021, the ECB Governing Council decided to launch an investigation into the possible issuance of a digital euro to complement cash and the European Commission is currently preparing a public consultation on the topic with a view to tabling a legislative proposal in Q1 2023.
Later today, Eurozone finance ministers (Eurogroup) will discuss privacy considerations and how they square with other policy objectives, such as countering money laundering, illicit financing and tax evasion. In June, the Eurogroup will then turn to potential impacts of the digital euro on the financial system and the use of cash. The digital work programme for H1 is available here.
Monday, 4 April – Eurostat release on the impact of Covid 19 on international trade by Member State, product group and main partners
Eurostat is set to publish statistics on the impact of Covid-19 on international trade by Member State, product group and main partners for the year 2021. Although OECD data shows that overall trade has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, some sectors and supply chains are still experiencing significant pressure from such a sharp decline in trade levels, and substantial imbalances remained at the end of 2021. The release of the Eurostat figures will give further insight into the post-pandemic recovery, and into the areas that are still lagging behind.
Thursday, 7 April – Irish Central Statistics Office to publish consumer price index for March
On Thursday, Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) will publish details of the consumer price index for March 2022. Flash Eurostat data released last week suggests that Irish prices rose 6.9% in March – a record level since Ireland joined the Eurozone. Increases in the cost of living will likely prompt the government to announce a new set of measures in the coming weeks to support the hardest hit sectors. According to the Taoiseach, these will include an expansion of the eligibility criteria for fuel allowance and a move to give families with children “extra help”.