Hungarian bill seeks to scrap early retirement pensions

Budapest, May 13 (MTI) – Pensions paid to people under the official retirement age are set to be scrapped and replaced by a social subsidy for people who qualify, but those who don’t will have to return to work in order to make a living, according to a bill submitted to parliament by the ruling Fidesz party MPs Janos Lazar and Istvan Balsai on Friday.

The proposal seeks to stipulate that old-age pensions shall be granted to people when they reach the official age of retirement.

But certain groups specified, such as women who have worked for 40 years, can still qualify for early retirement, the bill states.

Retirees under 62 may receive a social subsidy instead of their current pension as an incentive to take up employment again, according to the bill.


Rights NGO asks MEP Tokes to highlight attacks against ethnic Hungarians

Oradea, May 13 (MTI) – Hungarian human rights NGO, the Council of Human Dignity (EMT), has asked Hungarian MEP of Romania Laszlo Tokes to highlight a recent rise in the number of attacks against ethnic Hungarians and discrimination throughout the Carpathian Basin, EMT’s chairman said on Friday.

Zoltan Lomnici, a former chief justice, said it was worrying that an increasing number of politicians in neighbouring countries had made anti-Hungarian remarks, and asked Tokes, who is a Vice President of the European Parliament, to raise the issue in European Union forums.

Lomnici said that over 20 Hungarian memorials in countries around Hungary had been vandalised during the first four months of 2011, 15 of them in Romania. He said that EMT condemned all forms of negative discrimination, including anti-Hungarian expressions. Repeated violation of ethnic rights or national dignity is unacceptable in the 21st century, he added.

Tokes said the EU should work out a self-reliant minority protection system and sufficient methods to protect human rights. The former bishop pledged to raise the issue of the attacks at an forthcoming summit of European church leaders in Brussels, to be attended by heads of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission.


Budapest to host European water polo championships in 2014

Budapest, May 13 (MTI) – The European Swimming Federation (LEN) on Friday granted Budapest the right to host the 2014 women’s and men’s European water polo championships.

The LEN Bureau, meeting in Reykjavik, decided in favour of Budapest, over its main rival Istanbul, in a secret ballot.

Eleven members voted for Budapest and three for Istanbul, with two abstentions, Tamas Gyarfas, the Hungarian deputy president of LEN, said.

The Hungarian capital will host the European men’s water polo championships for the fourth time, and the women’s tournament for the second time.


EU Presidency – Members back review of EU trade preferences, says Martonyi

Brussels, May 13 (MTI) – EU member states support the main components of the European Commission’s proposal for a comprehensive review of trade preferences granted to non-EU countries, Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi told a press conference in Brussels on Friday.

The system has proved to be viable over the past four decades, but it should be overhauled to ensure preferences are given to the countries that really need them, the minister said.

The EC proposal announced earlier this week calls for reducing the number of beneficiaries from 176 to about 80.

Concerning the Doha Development Round, Martonyi said the EU hoped that its negotiating partners’ stance on trade would be as constructive as its own.