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2013 February
Hungarian official slams multinationals, EU infringements
Hungary's Economy Minister György Matolcsy accused banks and multinationals of attacking his government with "all possible means". Matolcsy said the Hungarian government's economic policy posed a direct challenge to the European Union's institutions and to governments caught up in the trap of traditional policies.
Hungary declares zero tolerance for racism, Fellegi tells US Congress
Prime Minister Viktor Orban has declared zero tolerance against racist political views, Tamas Fellegi, Hungary’s former development minister, said in Washington D.C. Fellegi has been asked to speak as a witness at a US Congress subcommittee on European anti-Semitism. There is a clear demarcation line between Hungary’s mainstream politics including its ruling centre-right party and the radical nationalist Jobbik, Fellegi said.
Top Hungarian Court Overturns Disputed Church Law
Last year, legislators slashed the number of officially recognized churches —which enjoy tax-free status, can qualify for government support and may collect donations — from around 370 to 32. Today the court said the current procedure is unconstitutional because the lawmakers' decisions cannot be appealed, no written justification is provided and the process lends itself to political influence. Tuesday's court decision nominally restores the status of the hundreds of churches in Hungary that ceased to be officially recognized. Hindus welcome overturned religion law
Hungary says its press freedom is 'completely perfect.' Europe disagrees.
Europe continues to criticize Hungary over its restrictive media laws, which give Prime Minister Victor Orbán's governing party vast control over the regulation of press outlets.
Letter from Hungary: grey area
The gloomy days of communism have been left behind, but the 'new democracy' isn't all sweetness and light.
Majority Views Situation As Critical In Hungary
The country is in a crisis, according to 88% of Hungarians, while 85% believe that the country will not manage to leave the crisis behind in the next year, according to a Nielsen survey. The biggest problems in Hungary are access to loans, the state of the economy and job security, most respondents said.
Be smart
Hungary in chaos over higher education plans
Since the current Hungarian government came into power in 2010, changes in the education system have been generally characterised by centralisation, state control, over-regulation and questioning of the role of the intelligentsia and the importance of higher education.
Hungary PM sets out stall for 2014 vote
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban set out his stall for elections in 2014 on Friday, pledging to get the economy back on track, make Hungary financially independent and help households clear their foreign currency debts.
Hungary’s Banking Industry Loss Narrows
Hungary’s banking industry remained unprofitable in 2012 as lending fell, bad loans increased and the government kept a special bank tax, the country’s financial regulator said.
Looking for promise land
More Hungarian Adults Considering Emigration
In early 2013 13% of the adult population are prepared to work abroad for a few weeks or months, 11% are ready to live outside of Hungary for a few years and 6% are ready to emigrate, primarily to Austria, Germany and Great Britain.
Home-made exempt
Hungary insists on tax-exempt status for home-made pálinka
The European Commission disputes the regulation providing tax-free status for distilling home-made pálinka; in their view the exemption is in breach of EU regulations.
Ban cleared
Hungary court overturns ban on Nazi and Communist symbols
Hungary’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday struck down a ban on the use of symbols of fascist and communist dictatorships, including the red star and the swastika. The ban was too broad and imprecise, the court ruled. Banning symbols of tyranny may be justified in the interest of defending human dignity and the constitutional order, but the regulations in place disproportionately restrict freedom of expression, it said.
Bad name
Hungary Jewish group urges ban on Hitler-ally street names
Hungary's main Jewish organisation called Wednesday for a ban on the naming of public spaces after the country's wartime leader Miklos Horthy, an ally of Adolf Hitler who oversaw the deportation of Jews.
Clever choice
Hungarian Government To Students: Tuition In Exchange For Work
As of this past September, students who choose to attend a university in Hungary's state-funded system must sign a contract requiring them to work two years in the country for every year of their studies. If they break this contract by seeking work outside the country, they must pay back their tuition, which, while affordable by American standards, is quite expensive for most citizens. Since the passage of the law, students have been demonstrating against it; one group has been holding a sit-in at a Budapest university since Monday.
His Hungarian Holiness? Cardinal Erdő on the list
Cardinal and Archbishop of Budapest-Esztergom Péter Erdõ is among the names being put forward for election to head the Catholic Church after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation.
Seeking new life
Recession, xenophobia prompting Jews to ditch Hungary
As many as 1,000 Hungarian Jews are believed to be leaving the country each year, spurring fears among Jewish leaders about the future of Central Europe's largest Jewish community -- some 80,000 to 100,000 people. Immigration to Israel has tripled in the past three years, to 170 in 2012. And many others have sought new lives in Berlin, London and Vienna.
Hungary Is Pig-Proud
Mangalica tastes good. Thickly marbled with fat, the pigs’ rich, dense meat heightens the flavor of the sausages and stews that are an integral part of Hungarian cuisine. In Hungary, Mangalica makes an interesting case with which to inquire: When does locavorism become political?
Herend preserves Hungarian porcelain-making tradition
Herend is the world’s largest manufacturer of hand-crafted luxury porcelain goods, which are sold in 60 countries. In an age of ubiquitous automation and digital wizardry, the world-famous enterprise in central Hungary has preserved a centuries-old tradition of molding, casting, and painting fine porcelain by hand. Herend’s most famous patterns are named for its illustrious clients, including Queen Victoria, the Esterhazy family, and the House of Rothschild.
Highlights of Hungary: readers' travel tips
Ride a railway run by children, or drink in a pop-up bar in a derelict building - plus all the cafes, museums and gorgeous spas you'd expect on a trip to Hungary.
Norwegian Human-Rights Organization Says Hungarian Democracy at Stake
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has joined a growing list of international organizations voicing concern over Hungarian government policies, claiming democracy is at risk in the small European Union country. The committee, which is a nongovernmental human-rights organization, says the government has gone too far in centralizing power, with some recent developments appearing autocratic.
Hungarian satellite celebrates first year in space
The first Hungarian-made satellite to orbit the Earth celebrated a full year in space after its launch last February. the Masat was designed and produced through the collaboration of universities and researchers over the course of four years. The official state gazette shows the government has earmarked HUF 6.4 million in subsidies for the development of Masat 2.
GDP down
Hungary's Economy Shrinks More Than Expected in Fourth Quarter
Hungary's GDP contracted 2.7% on the year in the September-December period, more than the 2.0% fall analysts had expected in the poll. The annual fall of the fourth quarter was the deepest since the same period of 2009, when GDP fell 4.4% on the year.
GDP down
Hungarian official inflation falls to 3.7%
Consumer prices in Hungary rose 3.7 percent in January on a 12-month basis, slowing from a 5.0-percent increase in December, official statistics showed. The rate is the lowest in sixteen months, partly attributable to a tax rise leaving the base period. In January 2012, the main VAT sales tax rate in Hungary rose from 25 percent to 27 percent.
Hungary – A Very FIDESZ Democracy
Horthy might be a strange hero to many people inside and outside Hungary, but it’s especially alarming to consider that the same political forces who indulge in Horthy-worship are also the people centralising control of the Hungarian state (especially schools), redrawing a constitution and creating a whole new set of apparently ad-hoc electoral laws.
Back to the market
Hungary Raises $3.25 Billion in Bond Sale Replacing IMF
Hungary raised $3.25 billion in its first foreign bond sale in 21 months, returning to the markets after Prime Minister Viktor Orban abandoned a quest for International Monetary Fund support. Hungary tapped the market after failing to obtain a flexible credit line from the IMF during a year of disputes over central bank independence and the sustainability of Orban’s measures to cut the biggest debt burden in the east of the European Union.
End of vacation
Hungarian Students on the March
Hungary’s students are back from their winter vacation—and back demonstrating on the streets of Budapest. Protests on Monday were aimed at government plans to amend the national constitution to force young Hungarians to remain in Hungary or repay money the state has spent subsidizing their university educations.
Iran, Hungary Discuss Expansion of Bilateral Ties
Iran and Hungary reviewed ways to further develop the two countries' bilateral relations and mutual cooperation. The issue was raised in a meeting between Rapporteur of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini and Hungarian Ambassador to Tehran Gyula Petho in Tehran.
Revived Transylvania Dispute Strains Romanian-Hungarian Relations, with Potential for Future Internationalization of the Issue
Romania and Hungary have recently reopened a chronic bilateral disagreement: the so-called ‘Transylvania problem.’ This dispute is affecting local, national and international relationships between local administrations, political parties, and international diplomacy, with the ripple effect being felt as far away as Brussels.
Home, sweet home
Human-trafficking victim faces deportation to Hungary
Janos Bognar survived the largest human-trafficking ring ever prosecuted in Canada, but now fears he will end up back in Hungary at risk of being targeted by the crime family he helped put in jail.
Moody's keeps Hungary in junk, citing weak growth
Moody's Investors Service affirmed Hungary's government bond rating and maintained a negative outlook, citing the potential stabilizing of its debt ratio this year, a weak economic-growth outlook and ongoing financial uncertainty. The firm rates Hungary at Ba1, the first step into junk territory.
Hungary December Industry Production Shrinks
Hungary’s industrial output declined in December as an expansion in car production reversed, signaling the nation’s recession probably extended into the fourth quarter. Hungary is battling its second recession in four years. The economy shrank for a third consecutive quarter as measures to cut the budget deficit to avoid a freeze of European Union funding damped consumption and hurt confidence.
Miercurea Ciuc - Szekelyfold: Symbol of a Struggle
A city of 38,000 on a plateau in eastern Transylvania, Miercurea Ciuc is famous for three things: its status as one of Romania’s coldest places; its brewery, where the country’s Ciuc beer is produced; and its ice hockey team, which has won the last six Romanian league championships. It is Szekelyfold, the Hungarian word for the Szekely Land, a former province of the Kingdom of Hungary. For the past two decades, the region’s ethnic Hungarians have been campaigning for greater autonomy.
Unofficial flag issue heats up Romania-Hungary relations
Most Hungarians want to review EU membership, reinstate death penalty
Two-thirds of Hungarians would consider it desirable for Hungary to review its EU membership or some of the commitments resulting from membership, according to a poll conducted by the Iránytû Institute. Only 17% said Hungary has benefited from EU membership, as against 44% who said Hungary has lost out. The introduction of capital punishment has the full support of 55% of respondents.
Hungarian Railway Finally Puts Women in Driving Seat
Hungary’s state-owned railway MAV Zrt. on Monday started training women to become train drivers despite opposition from an all-male trades union that had insisted they weren’t up to it. Hungarian women have been prevented from driving trains even though they are widely accepted at the controls of most other forms of public transport in major Hungarian cities.
Closed doors
Soccer - Bulgaria and Hungary lose appeals against racism sanctions
Bulgaria and Hungary have lost appeals against the decision to make them play their next home World Cup qualifiers behind closed doors after their fans were found guilty of racist and anti-semitic behaviour respectively.
Hungary's right-wing inflames ethnic tensions
The Roma make up about 7 percent of Hungary's 10 million people, and are overrepresented among the poor and unemployed. Discrimination is said to be widespread: for instance, according to one survey, only about one-third of Hungarians would let their child be friends with a Roma child.
Hungary: Old glory
Hungary's capital, Budapest, has dusted off the dreary years of communism to become as great and glamorous as it was 100 years ago.
Budapest: A fresh perspective on Hungary's capital
With grand architecture, cultural quirks and a rich café society, Budapest has enough to impress new and returning visitors.
"Hungary" for Goulash
Human Rights Watch criticizes Hungary’s Constitution over weaker protections
The annual report of Human Rights Watch (HRW) published on Thursday criticises several provisions in Hungary’s constitution. The basic law, which took effect on Jan. 1 last year, and some cardinal laws approved with a two-thirds majority, weaken the protection of human rights, have deprived the Constitutional Court of several powers and undermined the independence of the judiciary, it said.
Hungarian Jews Fleeing to Austria, Says Vienna Jewish Leader
“I am pleased people are coming but the circumstances that force them to leave Hungary due to the political situation, due to anti-Semitism, don’t please me at all,” Oskar Deutsch, president of the Vienna Jewish community, is quoted as telling the Austrian Press Agency. The community has begun offering assistance to Hungarian Jews wishing to leave, including language courses and help in finding employment, housing and Jewish education.
Auschwitz or museum trip for Hungary Holocaust denier
The first Hungarian convicted under a new Holocaust denial law has been given a suspended 18-month jail sentence and has to visit Budapest's memorial museum, Auschwitz or Yad Vashem, the court said. This is the first conviction since a new law came into force in 2010. Attending a political rally in Budapest in 2011, the 42 year-old held up a banner with the Hebrew-language inscription: "The Shoah did not happen".
Hungary seeks closer ties with Russia, says Orban
A new economic world order will emerge from the current crisis with Hungary and Russia in closer cooperation, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told MTI in an interview on Thursday, adding that his current visit to Moscow was an important step in this direction.
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