Constitution – Kids unlikely to get vote via parents – official

Vienna, March 18 (MTI) – It is almost certain the government will decide in the end not to give parents the right to vote on behalf of their children, an official told journalists on Friday.

An earlier version of the draft law laid the ground for passing a measure in the future to enfranchise children at the voting booth via their parents, but the final version of the basic law is unlikely to include even this option, said Gergely Gulyas deputy head of the committee for drafting the new constitution.

Feedback from some 800,000 citizens in a national survey on what should be included in the constitution showed low public support for the initiative.

The official also said that the new constitution would not seek to change Hungary’s political system or its governmental structure.

Gulyas said his personal belief was that Hungarian citizens living outside the country should be granted “some form of” voting rights.

Hungary’s parliament is expected to approve the new constitution on April 18.


Nearly 100 events at 31st Budapest Spring Festival

Budapest, March 17 (MTI) – The 31st Budapest Spring Festival starting on Friday will feature 97 concerts, theatre and dance performances and exhibitions, held under the auspices of Hungary’s European Union presidency and coinciding with the birth bicentenary of Ferenc Liszt

The Thalia Theatre will open the festival on Friday with the original premiere of a new opera entitled Excelsior! which explores a critical period in Liszt’s life.

Several events at the festival will pay tribute to the great composer, including Polish pianist Ewa Kupiec with the Budapest Festival Orchestra performing his Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major, and a staged version of the Christus oratorio performed by the Csokonai Theatre of Debrecen.

The Liszt memorial museum will show an exhibition entitled “Liszt and Budapest” and the Kogart House will host a series of chamber music concerts.

International co-productions held under the framework of Hungary’s EU presidency will include a concert at the Palace of Arts (MUPA) featuring world-famous Latvian cellist virtuoso Mischa Maisky accompanied by the Prague Chamber Orchestra, German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott playing with the Wiener Symphoniker conducted by Adam Fischer and a concert by the European Union Youth Orchestra.

The festival will also pay tribute to Bela Bartok on the composer’s 130th birth anniversary on March 25. The National Philharmonic Orchestra will perform his Suite for Orchestra No. 1.

Further international acts in the festival programme include Philippe Jaroussky, Jennifer Larmore, Juan Pons, Zubin Mehta and the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester, Pepe Romero, the Antonio Gades Company and Schauspielhaus Graz.

An accompanying event of the Budapest Spring Festival is the Fringe Festival which showcases young talent.


Hungary to decide later on whether to join euro pact – Martonyi

Budapest, March 18 (MTI) – Hungary will decide later on whether to join the euro competitiveness pact, Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi said in a briefing to journalists on Friday

Euro-zone leaders last Friday initialled an agreement to incorporate ceilings on public debt and budget deficits into national law, which Germany insisted as a condition for a beefed-up euro bailout fund.

“For the moment, we are gauging who wants to join,” Martonyi said. Of the ten EU members who have not adopted the euro, 3-5 are not expected to join the pact, he added.

“We fully agree with the text of the pact,” Martonyi said, adding, however, that Hungary “has never liked tax harmonisation”.

Hungary has decided to enshrine a public-debt ceiling of 50 percent of GDP into its new constitution, but analysts say that a framework law setting out a timeframe and other substantive details would also be needed to give the measure teeth.

Martonyi said raising competitiveness was the essence of the euro pact. Further it aims to tie wages to productivity and cut back over-generous pension systems, he said.

Earlier this year Viktor Orban, the prime minister, said it was inconceivable for Hungary to consider joining the euro before 2020.


Budapest Airport inaugurates HUF 24.4bn passenger hall

Budapest, March 18, 2011 (MTI-ECONEWS) – Budapest Airport on Friday inaugurated a HUF 24.4bn passenger hall at terminal 2 of the capital’s Liszt Ferenc Airport.

The 24,000sqm hall, dubbed SkyCourt, will boost annual passenger capacity at the airport from 4.5m-5m to 8.5m. The hall has restaurants, cafes and duty-free shops.

Budapest Airport CEO Jost Lammers said the airport operator had completed 82pc of the EUR 261m of investments promised in the airport’s privatisation contract. The 2A and 2B terminal will soon be renovated and a hotel will be built next to the airport, he added.

(HUF 100 = EUR 0.3653)