“Invitation to governmental press conference at 22:30. Please register by 22:00 today” – such emails are not uncommon for journalists. But when Hungarian newsrooms received the above invitation last Monday, it was already 21:46.
Having only 10 minutes to register and 45 minutes to reach the ministry in the middle of the night was new even by the standards of the Orbán government, which has made a habit of announcing bad news at the very last minute.
This time, it was the scrapping of the fuel prices cap, but from the abolishment of taxes to the raising of household utility prices, Hungarians often have only a day, or even minutes to prepare. No wonder Gergely Gulyás, head of the Prime Minister’s office, who holds weekly press conferences, is the subject of numerous jibes.
While Hungarians know laughter is the best medicine, this time they are wondering how long till the joke wears thin?