Hungary's economic problems are deepening. Inflation in the country rose to 22.5 percent in November, making it one of the highest in the EU. Year-on-year, the price of basic food staples is skyrocketing, prompting mandatory price caps. The cost of eggs, bread, and dairy are up 102.9, 81.8 and 79 percent, respectively. Hungarians further faced severe petrol shortages. Earlier this year, trade unions rallied support for a teachers’ strike with several thousand protesting in Budapest. Beyond the capital, some municipalities lack the finances to pay electricity bills, leaving vital public institutions shuttered. Public facilities affected include theatres, spas, pools, libraries, museums and sporting venues, including the the Hotel Danubius, the country's largest.
To appease public discontent, Orban attributes these failures first to Brussels; namely, EU sanctions on Russia that purportedly spurred oil and gas price spikes. He further cast blame on domestic political opposition. To divert attention from the economic failures of his government, Orbán criticizes his designated enemies by griping on the dangers of non-European immigration. In tandem, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó and others are similarly cultivating foreign allies by provocatively messaging to ultra-nationalist groups in neighbouring countries.