Category Archives: Politics

Union opposes plans to increase teachers’ working hours

Budapest, April 14 (MTI) – Government plans to increase teachers’ working hours by 30 percent would result in thousands losing their jobs, the head of the Democratic Trade Union of Teachers told MTI on Thursday.

The proposal was prepared by the economy ministry without coordination with affected parties, said Laszlo Mendrey. He quoted a study prepared last year which showed that the average number of hours that teachers had to spend in class or preparing for class per week was 51 and added that it would be impossible to increase this any further.

According to the plan, teachers’ wages would remain unchanged, Mendrey said. He added that in contrast, the latest draft the trade union had heard of included a 10 percent decrease in working hours.

The government is expected to discuss the plans on April 20.

The positions of the Ministry of National Resources and the Economy Ministry differ on several issues, including the increase in teachers’ working hours.


One person fined for smoking so far.

Until now the public space inspectors have fined one person for smoking in the forbidden to smoke zones at a BKV Public Transport stop – says Istvan Miklos, the vice chief of the FVKF – Public Area Fascility Management Service to
It’s been forbidden to smoke at public transportation stops since Ferbruary,  but it’s only been two weeks since the fining of those breaking these rules started, reports

The BKV stops have become cleaner, since they forbade smoking, said
Istvan Miklos to InfoRadio.  He emphasized that: most people keep respect the ban, and thus protect others by not lighting their smoke.

Constitution – Draft presented to President Schmitt

Budapest, March 14 (MTI) – The parliamentary leaders of the governing Fidesz-Christian Democratic party alliance presented a draft of Hungary’s new constitution to President Pal Schmitt in Budapest on Monday.

Fidesz group leader Janos Lazar asked the president to call upon all MPs to take part in the parliamentary debate over the draft.

The opposition Socialists and green Politics Can Be Different announced last year that they would boycott the drafting process because of the ruling party’s approach to the Constitutional Court.

Lazar asked the president to encourage civic organisations to expound their views about the draft.

The Fidesz group leader said that Parliament would discuss the draft supreme law for over a month and approve it on April 18, Easter Monday.

He noted that the body responsible for national consultations on the constitution had sent a questionnaire with 12 key issues to 8.5 million voters, and over 800,000 copies had already be returned.

Lazar said the draft left the question open whether voters with kids would get more votes in elections. The issue will be decided upon by Parliament, he said.

The Constitutional Court’s scope of authority is another matter for debate, Lazar said, adding that the new supreme law would not curtail the rights of the top court.


LMP calls for review of Paks nuclear power plant

Budapest, March 15 (MTI) – Green opposition party Politics Can Be Different (LMP) on Tuesday called for a review of the Paks nuclear power plant, monitored by independent experts, in light of the nuclear catastrophe in Japan.

The tragedy in Japan shows again that the use of nuclear energy is first of all a question of safety and only second a question of economic and energy policy, LMP said in a statement sent to MTI.

A review of the technical and safety conditions at the Paks reactors must be carried out to determine if an extension of their lifespan is possible or should even be allowed, LMP said.

The lifespan of the plant’s four blocks, completed between 1982 and 1987, were originally set to end in 2012-17, but a planned project will extend the reactors’ operation by another 20 years.

The Paks plant in central Hungary, the country’s only nuclear power plant, accounted for more than 42pc of electricity generated last year.


EC opens infringement procedure against Hungary over telecoms tax

Brussels, March 14 (MTI) – The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it had opened infringement proceedings against Hungary over a new “special tax” imposed on the telecoms sector last October. The prime minister’s spokesman, however, said that the special tax complied with the EU laws.

Hungary imposed an up to 6.5 percent tax on telecom operators in order to boost tax revenues.

“On the basis of information received from the Hungarian authorities, the Commission is concerned that the special tax on telecom operators is levied to cover costs other than administrative and regulatory costs related to the telecoms sector and is therefore incompatible with EU telecom rules,” the statement said.

The Hungarian government has two months to reply and if the Commission’s concerns are not allayed, then a formal request will be issued for Hungary to ensure that it complies with EU law on taxation, the statement added.

Peter Szijjarto, the Prime Minister’s spokesman, said that the special tax was in compliance with EU laws in every respect. The shared distribution of burdens is a European value and the special tax has been introduced in keeping with this principle, he added.

Szijjarto said Hungary had not yet received the official letter requesting information but as soon as it arrives, the government would immediate prepare an answer and send it within the deadline.


Orbán and Hungary given two weeks

The European Comission gives Viktor Orbán two weeks to show it’s new media law complies with EU rules.
Even if Hungary is the leader of the bloc the next six months, the EU might take legal actions if Viktor Orbán and his government doesn’t change the controversial media law.  France, Germany and Britain have been harsh critics of the new media law, with concerns that the new Hungarian media law contravenes European regulations on freedom and broadcasting.

Orbán said that if the EU executive obliged him to do so, he would amend the media law.

The Washington Post attacks Orbán once again.

After The Washington Post on Sunday went on to write about something that can be described as the Putinization of Hungary, this time it’s The Washington Post’s Eastern European expert, Anne Applebaum writes in the newspaper’s Tuesday edition that the Hungarian democracy is at danger, newssite reports.

“Jeopardizing democracy in Hungary”, was the title of the column Anne Applebaum wrote in the Tuesday edition in The Washington Post.
It is because of the new media law that she is worried about the Hungarian freedom.

The author, famous for her research on communist crimes, is the wife of the Polish Foreign Minister, but her writings are independent of the Polish governments viewpoints.
Applebaum was celebrated by Tibor Navracsics and Laszló Kövér last week.

She warns that while in Belarus the dicatorship is kept in power with violence, the democracy in Hungary is evolving towards a one party system by administrative means.
She looks at the new media law as a step towards this direction.

Applebaum writes that “Indeed, when the authors of the American constitution worried about the “tyranny of the majority,” they might have had Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, in mind.”

The column is found here.