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9th May, 2019

Orban: immigration too high a price for unity

Prime Minister Viktor Orban called migration the number one issue for every European country at the upcoming EU elections.

Speaking at a lecture at the Sapientia Transylvanian Hungarian University in Cluj-Napoca on Wednesday, Orban said that European political mentality has broken into two branches concerning immigration. While the West is thinking of “how to live together”, Central Europeans are concerned with what is to be done to prevent having to live together, he said.

Orban said western powers want to make the differences between people disappear, and for Central European countries “to allow large numbers of immigrants in” to restore European unity. However, he said, “We believe that we must not pay this price for European unity.” (infostart.hu; atv.hu; magyarnemzet.hu; magyarhirlap.hu; hirado.hu; origo.hu)
9th May, 2019

Hungary tries to expel Afghan families

The European Court of Human Rights intervened after Hungary tried to expel three Afghan families on Tuesday, the BBC reports.

The expulsion of one of the families – a woman and her four children – was impeded by the European Court with a temporary ruling.

The woman said in a video message that she had arrived legally in Hungary but had been confined to a camp, and was now being told that she and her family must return to Serbia or Afghanistan.

“Serbia did not admit us; how could we go back there?” she asked in the video. The woman’s 17-year-old son underwent heart surgery two months ago.

A 35-year-old pregnant mother from the second family fainted and was hospitalised during the expulsion attempt. Her husband and their three children were allowed to stay in the transit zone established on the border with Serbia.

The third family decided to leave Hungary through Serbia, but will not return to Afghanistan. Their expulsion was witnessed by staff members of the UN High Commissioner’s Office for Refugees and journalists. (hvg.hu; 444.hu; 24.hu)
9th May, 2019

Constitutional Court annuls Kuria ruling

The Constitutional Court has annulled a ruling handed down by the Kuria a few weeks ago which affects election procedures, declaring the decision unconstitutional.

The Kuria earlier ruled against Fidesz for its signature collecting practices after the party collected data for its own use while collecting signatures ostensibly for nominations for the EU elections.

The annulment decision, however, states that Fidesz lawfully collected the data, and that the law on election procedure does not prohibit parties from collecting signatures for purposes other than for fielding candidates during an election campaign.

Fidesz earlier turned to the Constitutional Court against the Kuria ruling, complaining that the supreme court had ruled without allowing the party to make a statement, and that the ruling did not take into account that nominating organisations are entitled to freedom of expression. (index.hu; atv.hu; 24.hu; magyarhirlap.hu; nepszava.hu; magyarhang.org)
9th May, 2019

Legal council initiates Hando’s removal

The National Judicial Council (OBT) is initiating the dismissal of Tunde Hando, the head of the National Judicial Office.

In a resolution passed on Wednesday at its meeting, the OBT stated that over the past year it had alerted Hando’s office of eight separate law violations, but that no substantive steps have been taken in any of the cases.

The OBT will send its report to Parliament’s judicial committee where Hando and the president of the OBT will be able to testify. Parliament will then have to vote on the committee’s report, which will require a two-thirds majority to dismiss Hando.

As Nepszava observes, such a dismissal appears unlikely with Fidesz’s two-thirds majority in parliament. (nepszava.hu; index.hu)
9th May, 2019

Ministry plans to launch periodical

The Human Resources Ministry plans to launch a fortnightly periodical called Orszagut (Highway), focusing on culture and public affairs, a government proposal obtained by HVG shows.

The periodical would be subordinated to the Petofi Literary Museum and would operate on public funds at an annual cost of Ft 300 million.

The retail price of each 48-page issue would be Ft 490, and it will have a circulation of 8,000.

Nepszava observes that the launch of the periodical comes at a time when hospitals operating under the ministry are riddled with debt, paediatric practices are regularly going under, and underpaid nurses are leaving the profession en masse. (nepszava.hu; hvg.hu; hirklikk.hu; 24.hu; index.hu; atv.hu)
9th May, 2019

Proceedings terminated against Czegledy

A Szeged court will terminate criminal proceedings against Democratic Coalition MEP candidate Csaba Czegledy after the National Election Committee (NVB) on Tuesday neglected to suspend his right to immunity, Magyar Nemzet reports.

Spokesman for the Csongrad county prosecutor general’s office Ferenc Szanka told the daily that under the law on criminal proceedings, the Szeged court must terminate the case against Czegledy, who was indicted for Ft 6.3 billion in budget fraud and other crimes.

As a result of the decision, on-going criminal proceedings against Czegledy cannot continue until the final results of the European elections enter into force. The prosecution must then charge Czegledy again. (hirtv.hu; nyugat.hu)
9th May, 2019

Momentum files complaint against Szijjarto

Momentum will file a complaint against Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto for holding an election forum in a government office building in Szeged, the website szeged.hu reported on Wednesday.

Momentum local chapter president Edvin Mihalik said in a video that his party believes Szijjarto, who had been invited to Szeged to discuss what is at stake in the EU elections, violated legal regulations prohibiting election forums from being held in public institutions where state and local council authorities are located.

Momentum will lodge its complaint at the Regional Election Office. (index.hu; atv.hu; hvg.hu; merce.hu; 24.hu)
9th May, 2019

Mi Hazank prepares for “demonstration of strength”

Mi Hazank president Laszlo Toroczkai told reporters Wednesday that his radical right-wing party will hold a “demonstration of strength” in the Jasz-Nagykun-Szolnok county village of Torokszentmiklos.

The demonstration will be held jointly with the Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIEP), the Smallholders and the Betyarsereg, under the slogan “Enough of Gypsy Terror”.

“Wild East conditions” prevail in the town despite the mayor coming from Jobbik, Toroczkai said. As a remedy, Mi Hazank proposes the introduction of “Siberian convict leasing”.

The demonstration, which could be viewed as a campaign event, will be held on May 21, shortly before the European Parliament elections, Nepszava observes. (nepszava.hu; mnarancs.hu; index.hu; 444.hu)
9th May, 2019

Vona: Orban cannot be unseated

Viktor Orban has built up a complete system which cannot be overthrown from within, but must be removed by an external force, former Jobbik president Gabor Vona told a discussion with journalists on Wednesday.

Vona, who resigned after the 2018 parliamentary elections and retired from politics, said Orban’s departure will in all likelihood sweep away the current opposition figures.

He said he does not plan to stage a comeback to party politics, but has launched a vlog and Youtube channel, hosts political workshops, and holds public talks about artificial intelligence. (index.hu)
9th May, 2019

Hungary’s industrial output extends gains in March

Industrial output accelerated from 5.9% in February to 8% in March, the strongest growth in 21 months according to preliminary figures of the Central Statistics Office (KSH) using both unadjusted and workday-adjusted data.

On a monthly basis, output climbed 1%.

Hungary’s industry has shown resilience in the wake of the global economic slowdown, Portfolio notes. Growth in the first three months was up 6.2% year-on-year, which bodes well ahead of next week’s release of GDP figures. First quarter growth could exceed 5% again after 5.1% growth in the last quarter.

The pace of growth accelerated in vehicle manufacturing, but slightly slowed in computers, electronics, and optical products sectors in March, the KSH said. In the food, drink and tobacco products sector, output growth was close to the headline figure, it added.

New capacities added in the manufacturing sector and the launch of new production models could give further momentum to output in 2019, said analyst for Takarekbank Gergely Suppan.

ING Bank also highlighted the strong performance in the vehicle sector. The added value of the industry in the first quarter probably exceeded last quarter’s level of 0.7%, said ING senior analyst Peter Virovacz.

Coupled with strong growth in the retail sector and a record performance by the construction industry, GDP growth in the first quarter will exceed 5%, Virovacz forecast, adding that trade tensions and the slowdown of German growth poses downside risks.

ING Bank projects industrial output to rise 6% this year. (portfolio.hu; tozsdeforum.hu; privatbankar.hu; mfor.hu; profitline.hu; forbes.hu)
9th May, 2019

EBRD bullish on Hungary’s 2019 growth prospects

The EBRD raised its growth forecast for Hungary this year from 3.3% to 3.7% in an economic outlook published ahead of its AGM on Wednesday.

The Hungarian economy is accelerating despite the slowdown among other EBRD members: the London-based development bank expects annual growth of 2.6% for all its members this year.

For Hungary, the EBRD sees GDP growth slowing to 2.9% next year as demand is likely to weaken.

The projections are lower than the government’s 4% target for both years.

The report shows that last year’s 4.9% growth was driven by domestic demand. Investments grew 16.5%, the highest in the Central European and Baltic region. The greatest risk facing the region is global protectionism and uncertainty regarding Brexit. (portfolio.hu; hvg.hu; 24.hu; tozsdeforum.hu; privatbankar.hu)
9th May, 2019

Gov’t unveils long-term energy and climate change plan

Hungary plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 52% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, but will aim to reduce it by up to 85%, according to the National Energy and Climate Change Plan published by the Innovation and Technology Ministry.

The EU climate and energy policy framework foresees a reduction of at least 40% in greenhouse gas emissions at the EU level by 2030. Hungary aims to raise its share of renewable energy to 20% of all energy consumption by 2030.

Production of green energy could climb to over 6,500 GWh by 2030, with solar parks accounting for over 70%.

The plan foresees a 14% increase in final energy consumption between 2015 and 2030, and the share of electricity and oil in the energy mix is expected to grow. The plan aims to diversify Hungary’s gas supplies as well as boost efficiency of gas use.

Besides renewable energy, the long-term energy strategy also places emphasis on nuclear energy, which can play a key role in the decarbonisation of the electricity sector. (profitline.hu; hvg.hu; portfolio.hu; 24.hu; napi.hu; tozsdeforum.hu; privatbankar.hu)
9th May, 2019

Severance payments drag down MTelekom profits

After-tax profits for Magyar Telekom fell 58% year-on-year from Ft 9.5 billion to Ft 3.9 billion in the first quarter, owing to higher expenditures related to severance payments and the switch to the IFRS 16 accounting standards, according to the company’s quarterly earnings report.

Severance payments reached Ft 3 billion in the first three months, while revenue increased by 5.5% to Ft 158.9 billion in the first quarter.

Ebitda is seen rising by 1-2% from Ft 193 billion last year, and investments are set to remain in line with last year’s Ft 92 billion.

The company has unveiled plans to pay a Ft 27 per share dividend to shareholders, up from Ft 25 a year earlier. (napi.hu; privatbankar.hu)
9th May, 2019

4iG wins Eximbank contract

BSE-listed IT company 4iG announced that it had won two contracts worth a combined Ft 688 million to provide software development consulting services in a public procurement contract called by Eximbank.

The EU-funded projects are worth Ft 315 million and Ft 373 million respectively. Last week, the company won a state contract of similar value.

Private equity fund Konzum PE owns 26.7% of the shares in 4iG. Asset manager KZF Vagyonkezelo has 22.6% of the shares and Opus owns 13.8%. The companies are controlled by Lorinc Meszaros.

4IG shares ended the day 2.25% higher at Ft 4,325. (portfolio.hu; napi.hu)
9th May, 2019

Spar launches online delivery

Supermarket chain Spar launched its online delivery service on Wednesday in Budapest and 49 surrounding towns following a Ft 960 million investment, CEO Zsolt Szalay announced.

It took 30 months to develop the infrastructure of the online store, which was then tested for 11 months, he added. Similar services are available in Slovenia and Austria, but the software was tailored to the needs of the local market.

The launch of the service will create some 100 new jobs.

The company will deliver products ordered online from three Interspar hypermarkets, one in the Budapest district of Pesterzsebet and two outside the capital, in Diosd and Szentendre.

Spar will not outsource the delivery service: it will be done by Spar employees to ensure uniform service quality, Szalay added. The fleet will consist of 20 Peugeot Boxer light commercial vehicles.

Orders placed on the website can also be collected and paid for at drive-in stations. Delivery of purchases above Ft 25,000 will be free of charge. The fee for home delivery will range from Ft 499 to Ft 999. Spar does not plan to provide the service on Sundays. (profitline.hu; privatbankar.hu; mfor.hu; napi.hu; portfolio.hu; hvg.hu)
9th May, 2019

Five-star hotel opens downtown

Mystery Hotel Budapest, the city’s newest five-star luxury hotel, is expected to generate Ft 800 million in revenue in its first year, state news agency MTI reports.

It is the first hotel in Hungary of the California-based Preferred Hotels & Resorts chain.

The hotel, featuring 82 rooms and a capacity for 170 guests, opened in the Sixth District on the corner of Podmaniczky and Vorosmarty utca, following a Ft 5 billion renovation, which began in 2017.

The developer and owner of the hotel is Mystery Investment, comprised of Hungarian investors. (tozsdeforum.hu; privatbankar.hu; profitline.hu; gazdport.hu; portfolio.hu; napi.hu)
9th May, 2019

MOL to lower fuel prices

MOL will lower its wholesale petrol prices by Ft 2 per litre from Friday, state news agency MTI has learned from industry insiders.

Prices will drop to Ft 403 per litre as a result of the reduction. Diesel prices will remain unchanged at Ft 411 per litre.

Prices moved up in recent weeks as crude oil prices increased and the forint weakened against the dollar. MOL makes decisions on its vehicle fuel prices twice a week. (tozsdeforum.hu; privatbankar.hu; mfor.hu; profitline.hu; napi.hu; portfolio.hu)

Students demonstrate over difficult math exam

High school students who found the mathematics test in their final examination too difficult are organising a demonstration outside the Education Office on Saturday. ATV reports that similar events took place in Germany in recent days.

More than 15,000 people have shown interest in the demonstration on Facebook.

Meanwhile, a petition has been launched for lowering the number of points required for passing the test. By Wednesday morning, nearly 30,000 people had signed the petition. (atv.hu; 444.hu; 24.hu; nyugat.hu)
9th May, 2019

Wizz Air opens early check-in desk

Discount airline Wizz Air has opened an early check-in desk at the Liszt Ferenc International Airport aimed at reducing queues in the summer peak period.

Passengers can check in and drop off their luggage three hours before departure, instead of the present two hours.

The service will be free for all passengers, the company said.

Wizz Air, the largest airline at Budapest Airport, expects passenger traffic to reach 6 million this year, up from 5 million last year. (profitline.hu; mfor.hu; napi.hu; hvg.hu; portfolio.hu)
9th May, 2019

Would-be burglar brought back from England

Agents from the International Crime-fighting Co-operation Centre brought a Balassagyarmat man back to Hungary from England Tuesday and handed him over to the Fifth District Police.

The man had nine warrants for his arrest, the police said on its website.

A 28-year-old, identified as Gabor K.H., broke into an unoccupied flat on Nador utca in the Fifth District on December 22, 2017, but did not steal anything. The perpetrator was identified through camera recordings but was not found, and a warrant was issued for his arrest on January 16, 2018.

A European warrant for his arrest was issued on November 26, 2018. The warrant was executed in England on April 17, after which agents brought him back to Hungary. (index.hu; police.hu; hvg.hu; atv.hu)

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