No vote on business plan at Malev EGM; strategic decisions expected soon

Budapest, March 25, 2011 (MTI-ECONEWS) – Shareholders of Hungarian national carrier Malev did not vote on a reworked business plan for the airline at an extraordinary general meeting on Friday because of strategic decision expected to be taken in the near future, the National Asset Management Company (MNV) said in a statement sent to MTI.

MNV said the outcome of “the talks with potential investors could substantially influence the company’s operations in 2011 and its new vision…”.

Shareholders did take decisions on changes to the board of directors and the supervisory board.

Malev shareholders asked the management to draw up a reworked business plan for 2011 because of the uncertain macroeconomic outlook and market conditions at an EGM on March 11.

Troubled Malev was renationalised in March 2010, but Russia’s state-owned Vnesheconombank still holds 5pc of the airline’s parent company.

soruce: mti.hu

Hungary establishes new trade and investment agency

Budapest, March 24, 2011 (MTI-ECONEWS) – The Hungarian Investment and Trade Agency (HITA) aims to protect Hungarian jobs and create new ones by rewarding investments in the country and developing trade, HITA head Erzsebet Dobos said at a press conference on Thursday, showcasing the newly established indpendent government office.

HITA will make expanding Hungarian SMEs’ export markets a priority, Ms Dobos said.

HITA wants to raise the proportion of Hungarian exports from SMEs from 18pc to 20pc within the foreseeable future, said deputy chief Gyorgy Kerekes.

The agency plans to operate with a staff of 155 and run six regional offices in addition to its base in the capital. Tenders have been called to fill the positions.

The agency will work closely with professional associations, business chambers and trade development agencies.

HITA plans 173 export development programmes in 20 sectors on 40 target markets this year. The programmes will give some 3,000 companies efficient, direct assistance. Emphasis will be placed on competitive, job-creating sectors, such as biotechnology, the drug industry, green industries, the food industry, IT and software development.

The agency will operate with a budget of HUF 3.6bn in 2011. Most of the money will be cover professional tasks.

The HITA officials said the agency is not the legal successor of the Hungarian Investment and Trade Development Agency (ITD Hungary).

source: mti.hu

Former Hungarian PM, Gordon Bajnai sets up think-tank.

Budapest, March 24 (MTI) – Gordon Bajnai, the predecessor of Viktor Orban as Hungary’s prime minister, is setting up a political think-tank called Home and Progress, Magyar Nemzet daily said on Thursday.

Bajnai stepped in as head of the government when Ferenc Gyurcsany, the Socialist prime minister, resigned in the spring of 2009 after his popularity nosedived.

Bajnai, who was not a member of the Socialist party, made it clear from the outset that he intended to head a largely technocratic government and, alongside his appointee as finance minister, Peter Oszko, put the country’s near-crippled finances in order under a programme agreed with the IMF and EU as part of a 20 billion euro bailout following the October 2008 economic crisis.

Bajnai was praised by international economists and investors for cutting several large spending items and restoring a sufficiency of confidence for government debt financing to return to the market in place of the IMF.

Bajnai’s new think-tank will include several familiar faces from his technocratic government, the paper said, without naming any sources. Oszko will serve as head of the think-tank’s supervisory body and Peter Balazs, the foreign minister in Bajnai’s administration, will serve on the same board.

Viktor Szigetvari will also be a presence familiar from past campaigns. Szigetvari, who was the Socialist party’s election guru, will help Bajnai run the outfit together with Bajnai’s one-time cabinet chief, Dora Hegedus.

Bajnai can count on a long period during which the current centre-right government retains power, and so will have plenty of time to build up the organisation, the paper said.

Bajnai’s people are of the opinion that the present leadership of the Socialist party and green party Politics Can Be Different are not up to the job of building a credible alternative to Fidesz, while Gyurcsany — who admitted to “lying day and night” about the public finances — lacks credibility, the paper said. Bajnai has deliberately stayed out of political and social conflicts, the paper added.

At the same time, they have been surprised that the Fidesz government has opened up so many battle fronts both at home and abroad, the paper said.

source: mti.hu

UPDATE – Budapest mayor says moving Soviet memorial not on current agenda

Budapest, March 23 (MTI) – Budapest’s mayor, Istvan Tarlos, said on Wednesday the possibility of removing the memorial to fallen Soviet soldiers was not on the current agenda.

Magyar Nemzet daily said on Wednesday that Tarlos had started talks with his Moscow counterpart on moving the memorial to fallen Soviet soldiers from the city centre.

Tarlos told journalists during a break in a municipal assembly that the city’s leaders would first have to consult the Foreign Ministry, as the issue touched on an inter-governmental agreement.

“Obviously I’m not going to cause diplomatic complications,” Tarlos said.

Tarlos added, however, that there was “a reason for raising the idea” since the memorial stood in the place of the one-time national flag and, as far as it is known, the remains of the Soviet soldiers had already been reburied.

“If this becomes an option then it should be possible to arrive at a constructive and civilized agreement with the mayor of Moscow, but it is not worth addressing the matter until the preconditions are fulfilled,” Tarlos said.

The memorial to the “Soviet liberators of Hungary” occupies Szabadsag (Freedom) Square in downtown, and has been the focal point of anti-Soviet demonstrations and calls for the memorial to be removed.

The paper also reported a plan to rename Roosevelt Square, in front of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on the Pest embankment of the Danube, Szechenyi Istvan Square, after the country’s first prime minister who also established the Academy, will be discussed at a session of the municipal council on April 6.

In turn, Szabadsag Square, which is overlooked by the American Embassy, would be renamed Roosevelt Square, according to the plan.

Source: mti.hu

Socialists accuse Fidesz govt of “planning to overthrow republic”

Budapest, March 23 (MTI) – Centre-right governing Fidesz is planning a “constitutional putsch” and wants to “overthrow the Hungarian Republic”, Socialist leader Attila Mesterhazy told party officials on Wednesday.

Budapest, March 23 (MTI) – Centre-right governing Fidesz is planning a “constitutional putsch” and wants to “overthrow the Hungarian Republic”, Socialist leader Attila Mesterhazy told party officials on Wednesday.

“They want to form a total dictatorship, not with tanks, but with the constitution,” Mesterhazy said at a party event in eastern Hungary.

The Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance commands a two-thirds majority in parliament, giving it a mandate to change the constitution, which is at present being debated by lawmakers. The Socialists and green party Politics Can Be Different are boycotting the parliamentary debate.

Mesterhazy noted that the Socialists had initially taken part in the work of the parliamentary committee drafting the constitution — even though they did not agree that the country needed a new basic law — and all their proposals had been “swept under the carpet”.

He said the Fidesz-Christian-Democratic constitutional draft spoke to a historical past which would not serve the nation’s present interests.

He added that the law, which had been strongly criticised both at home and on the international stage, had been designed to hand-cuff the next government and limit its room for manoeuvre, since “Fidesz people” would stay in their posts if there was a change in government.

source: mti.hu

Hungarian, Polish presidents stress friendship, historic past at Poznan university

Poznan, March 23 (MTI) – Hungarian President Pal Schmitt and his Polish counterpart Bronislav Komorowski emphasised the importance of their two countries’ common historic past and standing friendship at a ceremony marking Hungary-Poland Friendship Day hosted by Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan on Wednesday.

Komorowski, the Hungarian president’s host, said that the two countries shared a common past of one thousand years and stood together as strong allies today.

“This tradition must continue in all possible ways,” he said.

Schmitt also noted from the common historical past the friendship of Hungarian 19th-century reformist poet Sandor Petofi and Polish General Jozef Bem and the assistance Hungary provided by offering shelters to Polish refugees after the outbreak of WWII.

He said in 1956 the workers’ uprising in Poznan in June gravely touched Hungarians, adding that mass demonstrations in Poland in support of Hungary’s anti-Soviet uprising in the autumn, and the aid Poland provided, had been seen as an unparalleled gesture within the Soviet bloc.

Schmitt and Komorowski laid wreaths at the Mickiewicz Square at the memorial for victims of the 1956 Poznan uprising.

Earlier in the day the two presidents laid flowers at the memorial plaques of 1956 Polish and Hungarian freedom fighter heroes Romek Strzalkowski and Peter Mansfeld.

Schmitt is concluding a two-day official visit to Poland at the invitation of Komorowski on Wednesday.

source: mti.hu

Hungarian, Polish presidents visit Poznan

Poznan, March 23 (MTI) – Hungarian President Pal Schmitt and his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski opened an exhibition entitled “Poznan-Budapest – Executed Cities” in the Poznan Museum of Struggle for Independence on Wednesday.

The exhibition is dedicated to the June 1956 uprising of Polish workers in Poznan and the October 1956 revolution in Hungary.

Earlier on Wednesday, the two heads of state attended the opening ceremony of the Hungarian-Polish Friendship Day at Adam Miczkiewicz University.

Both presidents emphasised the importance of the two countries’ common historic past and standing friendship.

Komorowski said that Poland and Hungary shared a common past of one thousand years and stood together as strong allies today.

“This tradition must continue in all possible ways,” he said.

Schmitt also noted from the common historical past the friendship of Hungarian 19th-century revolutionary poet Sandor Petofi and Polish General Jozef Bem and the assistance Hungary provided by offering shelters to Polish refugees after the outbreak of WWII.

He said in June 1956 the workers’ uprising in Poznan gravely touched Hungarians. Mass demonstrations in Poland in support of Hungary’s anti-Soviet uprising in the autumn of 1956 and the aid Poland provided were considered unparalleled gestures within the Soviet bloc, he added.

Schmitt and Komorowski laid wreaths at Mickiewicz Square, at the memorial for victims of the 1956 Poznan uprising.

Earlier in the day the two presidents laid flowers at the memorial plaques of 1956 Polish and Hungarian freedom fighter heroes Romek Strzalkowski and Peter Mansfeld.

Schmitt is concluding a two-day official visit to Poland at the invitation of Komorowski on Wednesday.

Source: mti.hu

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 inforadio.hu.
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 index.hu

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.

Budapest mayor sets ball rolling to move Soviet memorial, rename public squares – paper

Budapest, March 23 (MTI) – Budapest’s mayor, Istvan Tarlos, has started talks with his Moscow counterpart on moving the memorial to fallen Soviet soldiers from the city centre, and the municipal council will soon debate renaming Roosevelt Square, Magyar Nemzet daily said on Wednesday.

The memorial to the “Soviet liberators of Hungary” occupies Szabadsag (Freedom) Square in downtown, and has been the focal point of anti-Soviet demonstrations and calls for the memorial to be removed.

The plan to rename Roosevelt Square, in front of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on the Pest embankment of the Danube, Szechenyi Istvan Square, after the country’s first prime minister who also established the Academy, will be discussed at a session of the municipal council on April 6.

In turn, Szabadsag Square, which is overlooked by the American Embassy, is to be renamed Roosevelt Square, according to the plan.

Source: mti.hu

Malev CEO resigns over pay

Budapest, March 22, 2011 (MTI-ECONEWS) – Martin Gauss, the CEO of Hungarian national carrier Malev, has resigned from his post after failing to reach an agreement on his compensation, the Hungarian National Asset Management Company (MNV) told MTI on Tuesday.

Budapest, March 22, 2011 (MTI-ECONEWS) – Martin Gauss, the CEO of Hungarian national carrier Malev, has resigned from his post after failing to reach an agreement on his compensation, the Hungarian National Asset Management Company (MNV) told MTI on Tuesday.

Mr Gauss’s resignation will be effective from May 31, 2011. Until then, he will actively participate in the management of the airline, MNV said.

“MNV adheres to the principle regulations relevant to the wage cap in the case of its own employees and the management of companies entrusted to its holding,” MNV said.

The government introduced in September a monthly wage cap of gross HUF 2m for all public sector workers. The cap does not apply to state companies but is used for state-owned institutions that are supported by budget money.

Troubled Malev was renationalised in March 2010.

(HUF 100 = EUR 0.3684)

Source: mti.hu