According to hvg.hu's information, the municipality of Budapest is planning to physically close all major underpasses every night after the last subway has departed from the corresponding station, as it is laid out in the proposition.
If the globalisation of the craft-beer movement could be blamed on anyone in particular, the Scottish BrewDog would be a prime suspect. The Aberdeen brewing company always tried to emphasize their punk ethics, but in the meantime, they grew into an international chain with more than hundred-thousand shareholders. After opening sixty-something bars worldwide, they finally arrived in Hungary, positioning themselves in a way that is also a recognition of the local craft-beer scene.
As expected, almost all of today's questions concerned the former prime minister of Macedonia who fled to Hungary escaping his Macedonian jail sentence.
News broke on Tuesday of Nikolai Gruevski hiding out in Budapest. The Macedonian ex-prime minister, a political ally of Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, was sentenced to two years in jail for exerting influence over the public procurement procedure of a €600,000 armoured Mercedes in 2012 and would have had to start his sentence 8 November, but fled to Hungary where he sought asylum.
It is unclear how Gruevski entered Hungary and how he applied for refugee status.
Rumours are rampant, Gruevski supposedly crossed the Macedonian border in secret, disguised in women's clothing, some say he used Hungarian embassy vehicles to travel between various Balkan countries. According to the controversial Hungarian legislation adopted in recent years by Orbán's Fidesz party, the Macedonian ex-prime minister is supposed to be waiting for his asylum claim to be processed in a transit zone facility by the border, together with all other asylum-seekers. However, he is clearly not. The Hungarian Government refuses to answer questions about Gruevski, saying they have nothing to do with the case since it is not a political matter, but a strictly legal one.
What we know for certain is that Mr Gruevski did not enter Hungary illegally, as stated by Hungarian government officials. Chief of Staff Gergely Gulyás did not say much on his weekly press conference on Thursday, but made two important statements:
Mr Gulyás mentioned another important detail: the Gruevski-case is in the competence of the authorities. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán made a similar statement in recent days, he said it is a "legal matter."
The facts, however, do not support this claim. Gruevski's passport was reportedly taken away by Albanian authorities, and there is no law that would permit Gruevski to enter Hungary without a valid passport while bypassing the transit zones – whether he arrived by air or by ground.
According to the strike's facebook event, no classes were cancelled, but their topics were instead all changed to gender inequality, the independence of universities, and the violation of the freedom of education.
As every year since 2014, Kutyabarat.hu presented its awards to Hungary's best dog-friendly businesses and accommodations to raise awareness of the fact that more and more dog owners prefer to enjoy certain services in the company of their pets.
Thefts have always been present at airports. Budapest Airport was no exception, but since last year the incidents have become rampant. The thieves seem to go mostly for passengers of Wizzair, a Budapest based low-cost airline, and carry-on luggage taken away during boarding is the most affected. Locks are easily cracked, but shrink-wrapped suitcases are fiddly to open, so they are usually left untouched. The clues point to the Budapest luggage handlers. One of them – who prefers to remain anonymous – spoke to Index.
Since 2011, corporate taxpayers in Hungary can gain a tax advantage or tax credit by sponsoring cultural organizations or sports clubs (for easier readability, we will be using the tax benefit's Hungarian abbreviation "TAO" from this on). In the most reductionist terms, this means that companies can reduce their corporate taxes by giving it directly to specific types of organizations whose development programs were approved by the relevant authorities and in the case of sports clubs, the relevant national sports federations. Sports TAO sponsorships can only be given to clubs active in certain spectacle sports, chief amongst which is football, the Prime Minister's favorite sport.
"Let me be absolutely clear: if you are against the rule of law and independent judiciary, you are not a Christian Democrat. If you don't like the free press and the NGOs, if you tolerate xenophobia, homophobia, nationalism, and antisemitism, you are not a Christian Democrat."
Prime Minister Orbán's chief of staff, Mr. Gergely Gulyás said that even though the Hungarian government holds the European Parliament's decision on the Sargentini Report invalid, the Hungarian Government will still participate in the debate on the Article 7 procedure before the EU's General Affairs Council.
At his international press conference, Gulyás stated that there is a procedure against Hungary that stems from a political decision, even if it is dressed up as a rule-of-law issue. He said the Hungarian Government believes it's an absurd accusation that Hungary presents a clear risk of a serious breach of the EU values.
Mr. Gulyás also said that the Sargentini report (a document about the serious risks of Hungary breaching core European values recently approved by the European Parliament) does not only contain false statements but touches upon subjects outside of EU jurisdiction. He went on to say that the procedure might create a bad precedent since the procedure and the report itself is
sending the wrong message and might lead member states to the conclusion that there is no sense in constructive negotiations with the European Commission.
The Parliament passed the Act on Higher Education in 2017, which set a condition for the continued Budapest operation of the prestigious university; the new law required CEU to have a headquarters in the United States that offered its own courses. CEU complied, as they established their US base and soon started a joint masters programme with Bard College, as the registrar New York State Education Department certified it for the Hungarian government. Even so, the government did not budge and is not willing to accept this. Late October CEU announced their plan to move to Vienna if until December the government will still not have signed the agreement with the State of New York that is necessary for CEU to continue their operation.
According to the legislative intent attached to the proposed amendment to the Act on the Protection of Municipal Landscapes, all premises traditionally used by the State and municipalities to hold ceremonies on national holidays, days of mourning, memorial days, and other (for instance religious) holidays shall no longer fall under the legal definition of "public spaces" in connection with public land use for the time of the event and the preparatory period leading up to it.
Spokesperson of NPH Kristóf Gál told MTI that during the investigation police seized a significant amount of documents that they revised in cooperation with other authorities. Upon performing all investigative acts deemed necessary by law, the police have concluded that
no criminal activity occurred, therefore the criminal investigation was terminated on account of the absence of a crime.
István György Tóth, one of the editors of the publication remarked in an interview conducted by 444.hu that the political elite started to underestimate the importance of education. He said there is a trend in Hungarian education policy that encourages children to specialise as soon as possible, favoring vocational training over lifelong learning. As Mr. Tóth elaborates, this attitude submits education to the day-to-day needs of the job market, and it goes against the tough demands set by the current pace of technological progress. Vocational knowledge turns obsolete fast, and this phenomenon requires people to possess a flexible set of skills to remain competitive. The current approach of the political elite - discouraging flexibility, innovation, curiosity - is running a high risk of the country falling into a negative spiral that might create a social division with one distinct part of society that will be able to compete in a globalised economy and another one that falls behind and becomes an easy target for political manipulation due to their growing frustrations.
Judit Lannert's study titled "No country for children - Hungarian education and 21st-century challenges" reveals that the most important indicators place the Hungarian education system amongst the weakest in Europe. Public education is burdened by overstuffed curriculums and improper pedagogical methods, creating a lack of motivation in pupils and amplifying the handicap of disadvantaged students. The most recent PISA tests show a decrease in mathematical performance and a steep fall in the students' trust in their ability to efficiently tackle problems and show that Hungarian students rank last in Europe in digital literacy despite the country's relatively high rate of internet penetration and time spent browsing the internet. The study concludes that the Hungarian society is in a state of "future shock", referring to the term coined by futurologist Alvin Toffler.
The Hungarian tax authority are investigating a possible defrauding of EU funds which could result in Hungary having to repay HUF 1.5 billion (€4,65 million) to the European Union. The scheme is a typical example of how EU funds are misused in Hungary.
It has been an open secret for weeks that something is definitely happening around us, and the silence was broken yesterday. The most important thing: the shares of our publisher, Index Zrt. remain in the property of Magyar Fejlődésért Alapítvány (Foundation for Hungarian Progress), controlled by László Bodolai. What changed is that the most important partners of Index – CEMP SH, that is selling our ad space, and the company that provides all IT services to us – are now in the hands of Gábor Ziegler and József Oltyán. The same two people, through companies they own, also acquired NP Nanga Parbat 17 Zrt. from Bodolai, the company which is the founder of the Foundation for Hungarian Progress.
There are two basic conditions which, if not met, Index cannot function properly. One is our editorial independence, meaning that our staff members – adhering to the journalistic standards we hold – produce whatever content they want. No outsider can have a say in our editorial decisions. The other condition is that no outsider can interfere with our decisions regarding which people work in the editorial staff.
In April 2018, Fidesz won their third consecutive parliamentary election, while more than half the electorate wanted a change in government. The System of National Cooperation (NER for short) seems stable even after eight years. For some, this seems natural, others find it deeply puzzling. The reasons go beyond the political map, but even beyond personal factors: there is a power structure which can only be understood with a perspective on the social order of Hungary. Those who think it's all about Orbán are deeply wrong, says Imre Kovách, the sociologist spearheading the research on Hungaran society, carried out by MTA TK's Institute of Sociology. We discussed the political ramifications.
Viktor Orbán took part in a public event, but his guards tried to hold off the press. When we got close enough to address him, Orbán called Index fake news.
Evidence suggests that an Israeli private security company has been hired to discredit Hungarian NGOs. The company with close ties to Mossad and many ex-spies on its payroll, applied illegal intelligence methods. Their targets had one thing in common: the Orbán administration has labeled them an enemy of the government.
15 kilometers of pure thrill in the Swiss Alps for those seeking the ultimate toboggan ride in the World. We tested it, including a punishing hike to gain an extra 1500 feet of altitude from the ski lift's top station. Watch it on video!
“He's an instinctive genius. It pains me to say this, but he is the smartest person I have ever known – that's including myself,” says a Hungarian billionaire when I ask him about Anthony Radev.
But who is behind this name? It should come as no surprise if you don't know him. The Hungarian elite sought his advice for decades, but he has always remained a sort of éminence grise.
The mayor of Budapest couldn't hide his frustration anymore. “This is some kind of a Murphy's law or a game of devilish powers”, István Tarlós told reporters at his weekly press conference in March 2017. He was laughing in disappointment: “Although I'm a believer, I'm absolutely sure Satan's hand is in this M3 metro line case”. Tarlós was referring to the newly arrived and constantly malfunctioning Russian metro cars, which kept breaking down since their first full day in service.
On Sunday night, Zoltán Szabó (a journalist and senior staff member at Index.hu, Hungary's leading news portal), was assaulted by a security guard working for the KFC on Király Street in downtown Budapest.
Stunned and shocked would be an understatement if we wanted to describe how quite a few seasoned counter-intelligence officers at Hungary's Constitutional Protection Office (AH) could have felt in April 2014. Going against their professional convictions, AH terminated an ongoing investigation and subsequently initiated a criminal case against a lesser-known far-right politician. The accusation was severe: spying against institutions of the European Union on behalf of a third country.
Security officers of AH were embarrassed, not because they weren't fully convinced that Béla Kovács, a notoriously russophile Hungarian member of the European Parliament – dubbed as KGBéla even by his own far-right comrades – broke the law and made illegal contacts with Russian intelligence officers, but because they wanted to make sure he could not escape justice and his web of contacts would be fully discovered.
In the tiny village of Őcsény, locals turned to intimidation to prevent an inn keeper from hosting a few refugees for a couple of days as a charity gesture. The people from the village have never met any refugees, they only know about them through the media.
Due to the propaganda campaign that the Orbán government has been running for two years, people believe that refugees rape women and children, rob their houses and kill people. In a heated village hall meeting, locals threatened the owner of the motel and the refugees. The locals’ accusations against refugees resonate with the state-run propaganda campaign: George Soros is responsible for the refugees wave in Europe, and all migrants are terrorists.
Such was the panic that the mayor was forced to resign. He had been the village leader for 11 years and had brought investment and prosperity to the community. The once peaceful village has become a place of conflict and fear.
The refugees who would have stayed at the motel were women and children with asylum status issued by the Hungarian authorities. After the incident, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán defended the illegal actions of the locals.
The original version of this video (without English subtitles) was published on September the 29th, 2017.
The streets of Mosul are covered with the traces of air raids. It appeared as though the collapsed buildings were trying to illustrate the varied aesthetics of the devastation. Some of the houses were transformed into a Laocoon group of rubble, ferroconcrete iron and wires, while some others were opened up along the lines of gaping wide cracks, or the roof was leaning gently deep down to the ground level, eliminating any difference between the inside and the outside. In this deconstructed space, cramped vehicle wreckages crammed into buildings once used as homes.
“Sixty people were killed when the assailant blew himself up with the car” – said the woman in the black scarf with the children crowding around her, dragging me back to reality. Indeed, the wreckage piercing into the wall was not a decorative object but the remains of a car that had been fully loaded with explosives and metal shards with the purpose of driving it into the residential building at full speed.
I did not expect that I would have a first-hand experience of the pressure that makes Afghan people set off towards Europe. I spent less than five days with an Afghan family living in Iran, and I would already have undertaken the march in the desert of the Turkish-Iranian borderline accompanied by some evil-looking human trafficker. I felt so, even though I did not starve, I was not deprived, there was a roof above my head, my Afghan hosts looked after me and catered for me. In spite of all these, or rather because of these, the claustrophobic feeling settled on me.
Have you ever wondered if freedom of the press actually persisted in Viktor Orbán's ill-famed illiberal democracy? The outlook for independent news outlets is murky, but that makes reading them all the more exciting. Now you can check things out about Hungary for yourself!
This is the English section of Index.hu, Hungary's leading, iconic news website. We translate our most important stories and analyses on a timely basis, to provide non-Hungarian audiences an access to the best of our coverage, as well as an overview of the most important current developments in Hungary.
With the upcoming general elections in Spring 2018 and the current government's peculiar role in the EU amid the migrant crisis, Hungary is expected to remain in the focus of international attention. We believe that our English section can serve as a prime source for in depth understanding of ongoing issues in Hungary.
Donald Trump has declared war. Not on terrorism, nor on the “cheating” Chinese, not even on Mexico. Instead, the US President appears to have decided that his main international adversary will be a loyal ally to the U.S.: Germany. Recently, Berlin has had to bear the brunt of Trump's anger on international trade and security, through which, at least according to the President, the United States is supposed to be taken advantage of.
At the end of May in Brussels, Trump essentially kicked down the door on unsuspecting European leaders by turning a NATO summit designed to appease him into a tirade against Germany and its ‘very bad' export policies. The problem according to Trump: Germany ‘exports too many cars to the United States, and that needs to be stopped. (The majority of German-brand cars sold in the US are actually assembled in America. The same is true for Japanese automobiles.)