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3rd June, 2021

Opposition challenges law on foundations in court

The six co-operating opposition parties have formally asked the Constitutional Court to strike down a new law on asset managing foundations of public interest that perform public duties.

The Fidesz majority in Parliament voted in late April to transfer Ft 1 trillion worth of public assets to foundations. It entrusted a considerable part of higher education supervision and a number of other assets to foundations loaded with Fidesz members, 444 writes.

Jobbik vice-president Gyorgy Szilagyi told an online press conference that “a mafia government has ruled Hungary for 11 years as an alliance of financial interests”.

He stressed that the appellants are asking the Constitutional Court to help the opposition protect the remaining state assets.

With the new law, the Orban cabinet entered a new level in stealing public property, as they are taking assets, universities, chateaus, stud farms and shareholdings in their entirety, Democratic Coalition deputy caucus leader Gergely Arato declared.

Socialist MP Laszlo Szakacs said “feudal lords” rather than trustees are running the foundations.

Dialogue MP Bence Tordai alleged that Prime Minister Viktor Orban is building a parallel state which depends on him alone.

He called Fidesz thieves, saying they pursue a neoliberal policy although they have advocated the opposite for a decade. (444.hu; 24.hu; index.hu; hirklikk.hu; merce.hu)
3rd June, 2021

Ruszin-Szendi faces committee

Armed Forces chief of staff nominee Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi told Parliament’s defence and law enforcement committee that his main task will be to further build the defining army in the region.

He said it is important to continue to procure individual tactical weapons, to upgrade cyber capability, and to renew the logistics system in such a way that more executive and fewer administrative staff members should be needed.

He said his goal is to increase the strength of fighting soldiers and simplify the volunteer reserve system.

In answer to questions, Ruszin-Szendi confirmed that deputy commander Gabor Borondi will be leaving, and has accepted a foreign diplomatic post.

He added that his deputy will be Zsolt Sandor, the present head of the Armed Forces Reserve Training and Support Command. (hvg.hu; hirklikk.hu; telex.hu; 24.hu; hang.hu; hirado.hu; magyarhirlap.hu)
3rd June, 2021

Dobrev backs Jobbik politician

Democratic Coalition MEP Klara Dobrev announced on Wednesday that her party backs Jobbik MP Gyorgy Szilagyi in Budapest’s constituency No. 14 in the city’s 17th District.

Dobrev wrote on her Facebook page that Szilagyi has been an MP for ten years and so he knows everything about how to serve the interests of ordinary people as an MP.

“He may be able to address right-wing opposition voters as well and that could be vital in the district,” she added. (atv.hu; nepszava.hu)
3rd June, 2021

Single-use plastics banned from July

The government has banned the use of most single-use plastic products from July 1, it was confirmed in the Wednesday issue of the official gazette Magyar Kozlony.

Among others, light plastic bags, cutlery, plates, cups, straws, ear cleaners and polystyrene containers for hot meals cannot be sold from that date.

Non-polystyrene cups will be banned from January 1, 2022.

A bill on a similar ban was filed by deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjen a year ago, based on EU requirements, but the ban was postponed until this summer, due to resistance from light plastic bag producers and retailers because of the short notice, Portfolio recalls. (portfolio.hu; index.hu; hvg.hu; napi.hu; telex.hu; 444.hu)
3rd June, 2021

Clients wary of extra KATA tax

Only 14% of clients of KATA taxpayer businesses are prepared to pay the 40% extra tax on the part of annual orders that exceeds Ft 3 million, K&H bank found in a survey.

The higher tax on revenues from one client came into force on January 1.

Some 74% of clients – who are obliged to pay the extra tax on the amount exceeding the threshold – said they will stop orders at just below Ft 3 million.

Only 11% of the clients are willing to employ their KATA category suppliers in ordinary employment.

Another 45% of clients are advising their suppliers to opt for a different taxpaying regime. (index.hu)
3rd June, 2021

Wizz Air lost €576mn in 2020

Wizz Air realised a €576 million loss in the fiscal year ending on March 31, the low-cost airline announced on Wednesday.

Revenues plummeted 73% year-on-year to €739 million because of the travel restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.

The number of passengers was down by 75% to some 10 million.

The company also announced that the number of passengers rose to 833,000 last month from 126,000 in May of last year.

Wizz Air also forecasts a loss for this fiscal year, adding that previous passenger numbers will only be reached in 2023.

Wizz Air still has €1.6 billion in cash so it is calm about the coming quarter, said CEO Jozsef Varadi. (index.hu)
3rd June, 2021

Market Epito profits double

Market Epito realised a Ft 17.4 billion net profit last year, up from Ft 7.4 billion a year earlier, the construction company reported to the company registry.

Revenues reached Ft 183.5 billion, down from Ft 188.7 billion.

Operating profit shot up from Ft 7.6 billion to Ft 19.1 billion, boosting pre-tax profit from Ft 7.4 billion to Ft 18.1 billion.

Market Epito had 417 employees last year. It donated Ft 374 million to charity and Ft 656 million to sports clubs.

Among other projects, the company is building the MOL tower in south Buda, a handball stadium in Budapest, and the Airbus Helicopters factory in Gyula.

Istvan Garancsi owns 51% of Market Epito shares and CEO Sandor Scheer 49%. (napi.hu)
3rd June, 2021

4iG completes acquisition of Hungaro Digitel

4iG has completed the acquisition of a 75% stake in satellite telecoms company Hungaro Digitel (HDT) following approval by the competition authority, the IT company announced.

After the transaction, state broadcasting company Antenna Hungaria’s share in Hungaro Digitel dropped to 25%.

The stake was sold by Portuguese Telecommunication Investments, a subsidiary of the Bartolomeu Investments fund managed by asset manager Alpac Capital.

4iG is paying for the acquisition by transferring 5.24% of its own shares to Bartolomeu Investments.

The new shareholder agreed not to sell the shares for a year.

Telecoms is one of 4iG’s target sectors for growth. (portfolio.hu; magyarnemzet.hu; index.hu)
3rd June, 2021

Ft 30bn road contract awarded

Construction companies He-Do and Soltut have won the tender for building a 10km road with six bridges and two roundabouts in Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen county for Ft 30 billion, state infrastructure developer NIF announced on the EU public procurement website.

Strabag won the contract for construction of a 1.8km connecting road to the new road linking Sajoszentpeter and Berente in the Sajo valley for Ft 5.3 billion.

The NIF signed the contracts with the winners on May 18.

Duna Aszfalt and a consortium of Domper, Subterra-Raab and Pannon-Doprastav also filed bids in the tender. (napi.hu)
3rd June, 2021

Would-be terrorist captured

A Hungarian man who identifies as an Islamist has been taken into custody for preparing an act of terror, the Capital Prosecutor General’s Office announced on Wednesday.

The statement said agents had questioned and detained a 21-year-old man who is suspected of preparing acts of terror on Hungarian territory.

Prosecutors carried out the operation with the co-operation of the Counter-Terrorist Centre (TEK).

The 21-year-old suspect was caught in Kecskemet and detectives impounded explosive devices.

Magyar Nemzet reports that the man wanted to set off bombs at several locations in Hungary, starting with the Puskas Stadium, the Budapest venue of the upcoming European Football Championships.

The man wanted to set off bombs at mass events and planned to drive into a crowd, TEK chief Janos Hajdu told a press conference on Wednesday.

He said the suspect had been under surveillance because he took part in conversations on online pages linked to the Islamic State terrorist group. (magyarnemzet.hu; hvg.hu; ugyeszseg.hu; index.hu; hang.hu; 24.hu; borsonline.hu)
3rd June, 2021

Border guards accused in systematic bribery scheme

Prosecutors have pressed charges against 49 customs guards accused of regularly accepting cash from foreigners at the Roszke crossing station at the Serbian border, leader Imre Keresztes of the Central Investigative Prosecutor’s Office, announced on Wednesday.

According to the indictment, the guards on duty accepted cash bribes in the range of €5 to €100 from foreign passengers, bus drivers and truck drivers between October, 2017 and May, 2018.

Keresztes said the guards collected and then hid the cash and the department head or his deputy distributed the takings twice a month.

The 49 guards are accused of 4,356 acts of corruption. One guard allegedly took 66 bribes in one day.

All but one of the accused have been fired.

If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. (index.hu; 168.hu; magyarnarancs.hu; infostart.hu; 24.hu; telex.hu)
3rd June, 2021

New licence plates coming next year

New licence plates with four letters and three numbers will be introduced from July 1, 2022, Innovation and Technology Ministry state secretary Tamas Schanda announced on Wednesday.

Schanda said the move will not entail any administration-related burdens for owners and car operators and will not cost them anything.

The new licence plates will gradually replace the existing ones. (hirado.hu; alapjarat.hu; azuzlet.hu; demokrata.hu)

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