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13th December, 2018

Chaotic scenes in House as MPs vote for overtime bill

Parliament approved the legislative amendment known as the “slavery bill” on Wednesday, amidst what Index called the most scandalous scenes in Parliament since the 1990 change of regime.

Before the session could begin, 10-12 opposition MPs blocked the stairway leading to the rostrum, preventing Speaker Laszlo Kover from taking his seat and opening the session.

In response, Kover opened the session from his MP’s seat and had his deputy Janos Latorcai, also of Fidesz, chair the session from his MP’s seat.

Prominent Fidesz politicians including communications chief Antal Rogan, Prime Minister’s Office leader Gergely Gulyas and Prime Minister Viktor Orban formed a wall around Latorcai to keep opposition MPs from interrupting his activity.

The bill was passed with 130 affirmative votes, 52 dissensions and one abstention, while opposition MPs jeered and whistled and continuously tried to impede the voting procedure.

Initially the bill was to increase the maximum number of overtime hours in one year from the present 250 to 400.

Later this was amended by keeping the 250 hours as a general rule which can be increased to 300 hours in a collective bargaining agreement.

However, employees may work up to 400 overtime hours a year by agreement with the employer, bypassing the union and the collective bargaining agreement.

Another provision of the bill that has drawn strong protest states that employers do not have to compensate employees for overtime for up to three years.

A survey by Policy Agenda found that 83% of working people do not support the amendment to the labour code.

German companies present in Hungary are said to be happy with the change. (index.hu; atv.hu; 24.hu; hirado.hu; hvg.hu; nepszava.hu)
13th December, 2018

Police clash with protesters

A crowd protesting against bills passed yesterday clashed with police at two locations after wandering from Kossuth ter to Heroes Square and back last night.

Riot police deployed tear gas to disperse a crowd of about 1,000 protesters who had engaged in a stand-off on the steps of Parliament after pushing past police lines.

Police said protesters had thrown eggs and beer cans at them.

Earlier, the crowd confronted police at the Fidesz party headquarters.

The protest had begun outside Parliament in the afternoon when some 200 people joined a Momentum rally.

Momentum executive committee member Daniel Berg was the first to speak, thanking the opposition for its efforts on Wednesday, adding: “Don’t let our compatriots be turned into slaves”.

The larger part of the crowd, hundreds of people, proceeded toward Margaret Bridge at 5 p.m., led by Dialogue MP Bence Tordai, with shouts of “dirty Fidesz”.

As they encouraged passers-by to join them, the crowd grew to 500-600, and temporarily closed Margaret Bridge.

Towards 5.30 p.m. the demonstrators moved toward Oktogon, and from there to the Fidesz headquarters on Lendvay utca near Heroes Square.

There they found a line of police protecting the building, but two demonstrators managed to climb on a balcony and hoist an EU flag.

As the crowd pressed against police lines, some shouted: “we’ve come to work overtime”.

When protesters threw eggs at the building, police responded with pepper spray.

The protesters then returned to Kossuth ter, and chanted such slogans as “Orban geci” and “Viktator”. (hvg.hu; 24.hu; nepszava.hu; 444.hu; index.hu)
13th December, 2018

Ethnic Hungarians can vote in EP elections

Parliament on Wednesday passed an amendment entitling Hungarian citizens without an EU address to vote in EU elections.

The official newspaper of the EU carried a resolution in July encouraging member states to give their citizens living outside the EU a chance to vote.

However, only resident EU citizens may be candidates for the European Parliament. (hvg.hu)
13th December, 2018

New state fund for TV productions

Parliament passed a bill yesterday to create a fund for subsidising movies and series meant to be shown on TV, not in cinemas.

Movie productions supported by the Hungarian National Film Fund are not eligible for the new funding, nor those excluded by government decree.

Only productions intended to be broadcast on Hungarian TV may bid for the funding.

Revenues for the fund may come from voluntary contributions and the central budget but the media council can also decide to reassign funds from state media manager MTVA.

The budget is to be approved by Parliament as a supplement to the budget of the media authority NMHH and the Media Council.

Funding decisions will be made by a film panel within the NMHH, overseen by a three-member supervisory committee. (infostart.hu)
13th December, 2018

TEK vehicles on city streets

Counter-terrorist units and police are stepping up protection of Hungary’s Christmas fairs in response to the shooting incident in Strasbourg on Tuesday night.

The incident, in which two people were killed and several others injured, shows that the terrorist threat has grown in the whole of Europe, the Government Information Centre said in a Wednesday statement.

For this reason, it said, the government’s national security cabinet decided that the Counter-Terrorist Centre (TEK) and police are increasing the defence of Christmas fairs.

In addition, TEK vehicles have been ordered to appear on city streets. (hvg.hu)
13th December, 2018

KSH confirms 6% industrial growth

Industrial output in October was up 5.9% year-on-year, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said in its second reading of the data, released on Wednesday.

Adjusted for the number of workdays, output increased by 3.3%, up from a 2.2% rise in September, the lowest figure in a year.

On a monthly basis, industrial output grew by 2%.

The expansion of the electronics industry was particularly significant in October, the KSH said, as output of computers, electronics and optical equipment was 11.7% higher.

Growth in the manufacture of transport equipment – one of the key drivers of industry – rose after three months of declines but was below the average rate of growth, up 3.1% year-on-year.

Industrial exports grew by 1%, while domestic sales increased by 6.7% in the first ten months. Overall industrial output in the January-October period was 3.4%.

Innovation and Technology Ministry state secretary Gyula Pomazi said growth in health care and pharmaceutical sectors looked promising. Based on the stock of orders and confidence indices, robust export growth can be expected in the coming months, he added. (napi.hu; profitline.hu; portfolio.hu)
13th December, 2018

Hotel bookings up 85% for Christmas

Hotel bookings over the Christmas holidays are increasing every year, with bookings in the December 22-26 period up 85% this season, according to data from Hungarian booking website Szallas.hu.

Last year, bookings during the same period were up 120%.

As usual, the list of the most popular Hungarian destinations is led by Budapest, followed by hotels in Heviz, Eger, Hajduszoboszlo and Szeged.

The average booking value is Ft 63,000, while the average length of accommodation among people travelling at Christmas is two nights, said Szallas.hu marketing manager Nora Keresztes.

The most popular foreign destination this Christmas is Zakopane, Poland, followed by Vienna, Cracow, and Prague. (vg.hu; boon.hu; atv.hu)
13th December, 2018

BYD delivers first electric bus made in Hungary

The first electric bus produced by Chinese manufacturer BYD at its plant in Komarom was formally handed over to the town of Salgotarjan yesterday. The bus will be put into operation in January.

BYD opened its first European plant in Hungary last year.

The 12-metre buses can carry 85 passengers and have a range of 250km.

The purchase of new environmentally friendly vehicles is an important element of the government’s bus strategy, deputy state secretary Gyula Pomazi of the Innovation and Technology Ministry declared at the ceremony.

BYD has delivered 600 buses to 12 countries in Europe to date. (azuzlet.hu)
13th December, 2018

Nestle gives trademark rights to Szerencsi

Nestle has transferred the exclusive rights to use the Szerencsi brand for non-cocoa products to Hungarian company Szerencsi Bonbon.

The Swiss food giant purchased the chocolate factory in Szerencs in 1991, which has become a regional production and packaging centre, supplying cocoa and coffee powder to 30 countries, said Nestle Hungaria CEO Peter Noszek.

Szerencsi Bonbon makes Szerencsi brand flavoured sweets in addition to chocolate products.

Chocolate production in Szerencs is in good hands, said Agriculture Minister Istvan Nagy, after the signing of the trademark use agreement, which, he said, will ensure the future of the more than 100-year-old industry in the city.

Nestle has invested Ft 7.5 billion in the region, Ft 5.5 billion of that in the Szerencs facility. A new production line was built at a cost of Ft 180 million in 2015, creating 100 jobs.

Szerencsi Bonbon founder Istvan Takacs said it is unprecedented for a large company to transfer a product trademark. (infostart.hu; portfolio.hu; tozsdeforum.hu; index.hu; napi.hu)
13th December, 2018

Vodafone announces tech prize

Mobile operator Vodafone Hungary will launch a Ft 15 million technology innovation prize for companies, individuals and non-profit organisations, CEO Amanda Nelson told a press conference in Budapest.

The prize announced by the Vodafone Foundation aims to find digital solutions that help social cohesion.

The top priority groups are children, families and non-profit organisations.

Balazs Karoly Solymar, state secretary at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, said the cabinet supports initiatives that spread the benefits of digitalisation and innovation to everyone. (computerworld.hu; uzletem.hu; hirma.hu)
13th December, 2018

Cannes-winning director Kosa dies

Film director Ferenc Kosa, a former MP and a member of the Hungarian Art Academy, died in his 82nd year on Wednesday.

Kosa had a prominent role in the renewal of Hungarian motion picture art when he began his career in the 1960s.

His college diploma work 10,000 nap (“10,000 Days”) – which called the 1956 events a revolution and was therefore banned for years – won the Best Director prize at the 1967 Cannes film festival.

From 1990 to 2006 Kosa was an MP with the Socialist Party. (hvg.hu; atv.hu; inforadio.hu; hirado.hu; 24.hu; origo.hu)
13th December, 2018

Hosszu wins second world gold

Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu won her 15th short-course world championship gold medal on Wednesday, winning the 200-metre butterfly event in Hangzhou.

It was Hosszu’s second gold medal of the tournament, as she also won the 400-metre medley title on Tuesday.

One hour later Hosszu won the silver medal in the 100-metre backstroke behind Olivia Smoliga of the US. (origo.hu; infostart.hu; 24.hu; index.hu; blikk.hu)

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