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4th July, 2019

Plans to amend Basic Law under way

Prime Minister Viktor Orban is attempting to further centralise power with a review of the constitution planned for the autumn, Index learned from Fidesz sources.

Although the governing party’s politicians have not spoken publicly of such a constitutional revision, a close circle led by Fidesz MEP Jozsef Szajer is continuously working to review the Basic law, Index reports.

Orban reportedly has firm ideas about the changes: passages regulating relations between employees and employers could be amended to the benefit of employers, and the Basic Law would specify that same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt children under any circumstances.

The entire judicial system would also undergo changes, and the purview of the National Judicial Council would also change.

According to Index, if Budapest mayor Istvan Tarlos wins the municipal elections in autumn, amendments to the Basic Law will begin, but if he loses, the chances of such changes drop to a minimum.

Tarlos’ office responded to the reports Tuesday afternoon, stressing that the mayor has no knowledge of such intentions to amend the Basic Law. If such intentions do exist, Tarlos wrote, it is solely dependent on the parliamentary two-thirds majority and does not depend on who serves as Budapest mayor. (atv.hu; index.hu; 24.hu; nepszava.hu; propeller.hu)
4th July, 2019

EC to examine Academy law

The European Commission is giving a third warning to the government concerning a new law on the Academy of Sciences, stressing that academic freedom must not be limited.

The Commission says it will examine the law which strips the Academy of control over research institutes. The EC stressed the importance of open and competitive financing systems for achieving high quality research and increasing the impact of funding.

The law was passed by Parliament on Tuesday after months of protests by Academy members and other groups.

The EC says it will continue to closely monitor developments affecting the Hungarian research sphere, and calls on authorities to refrain from making decisions that narrow scientific and academic freedom. (hvg.hu)
4th July, 2019

Asset declaration referendum question approved

The National Election Committee (NVB) approved a referendum initiative on Tuesday which aims to regularly compare politicians’ asset declarations with official registries.

The referendum question was submitted by former LMP politician and 18th District local councillor Daniel Kassai, and reads, “Do you agree that Parliament should specify a regular and compulsory examination of data in the asset declarations of persons legally required to issue them, and compare them with the data contained in official registries?”

The NVB verified the initiative with nine affirmative votes against two dissensions.

If the Kuria makes no objection over the next two weeks, the next step of collecting signatures to support a referendum may begin. If 100,000 signatures are collected, President Janos Ader can order a referendum, and if 200,000 signatures are collected, Parliament will automatically call a referendum. (index.hu; propeller.hu; infostart.hu; nepszava.hu; 24.hu)
4th July, 2019

Gyurcsany mocks Orban

Democratic Coalition president Ferenc Gyurcsany reacted to the European Council’s nomination of Ursula von der Leyen for president of the European Commission on his Facebook page Wednesday.

“You didn’t like Weber, and Timmermans was no good. They were clearly pro-immigration candidates of Soros,” Gyurcsany wrote, addressing Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Von der Leyen must still be elected by the European Parliament.

Gyurcsany recalled that the German politician and defence minister is one of the most dedicated politicians to the concept of a United States of Europe, which was the campaign theme of the Democratic Coalition during EU elections.

As Gyurcsany noted, von der Leyen supports same-sex marriage, and “is unwilling to equate the refugee issue with terrorism”. She even received a refugee at her home, he wrote. (atv.hu; propeller.hu; 24.hu)
4th July, 2019

Gulyas on family protection plan

Four of the seven family protection measures were put into effect on Monday, and state offices have been processing requests effectively and without problems, PMO leader Gergely Gulyas told a press briefing in Budapest on Wednesday.

Gulyas said that interest in the programme has been tremendous so far, and that the government expects to report on greater interest than any other family protection plan yet by the end of the month. (magyarhirlap.hu; mfor.hu; magyarnemzet.hu; privatbankar.hu; hir.ma.hu; propeller.hu)

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