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9th November, 2017

Further church subsidies allotted in budget amendment

Parliament’s budget committee has modified the 2016 budget final adjustment bill with an extra item allocating a Ft 41.6 billion subsidy for church-operated schools that will be paid out in December of this year, news website Zoom reported yesterday morning.

The bill may violate the constitution, Zoom wrote, arguing that the 2016 budget adjustment law would also effect the fulfilment of the 2017 government deficit target.

In 2016, church-run schools received a total of Ft 222 billion in subsidies while state-run schools received Ft 516 billion. Some 20% of students attend religious schools.

Allegedly, the government had made a mistake. According to the justification given for the modification, Ft 41.6 billion was missing form the subsidies due to ecclesiastical institutions.

Such a big “mistake” is very unlikely as the state audit office ASZ spent two months examining the 2016 budget and had not detected it, head of the Responsible Budget Institute Balazs Romhanyi commented. (zoom.hu; napi.hu)
9th November, 2017

Hungary to support Nigerian school reconstructions

Hungary will support the reconstruction of four schools and one hospital in the Nigerian Maidugur Catholic diocese with more than Ft 400 million, Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog announced at a press briefing on Wednesday.

He said Maidugur Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme visited Hungary in July and asked Prime Minister Viktor Orban for support.

In Nigeria the Boko Haram terror organisation not only murders people but destroys the infrastructure; therefore, the cabinet decided to support the diocese with Ft 420 million, Balog said.

A resolution to that effect will appear in official gazette Magyar Kozlony in the coming days. (magyaridok.hu; hirado.hu; hvg.hu)
9th November, 2017

Diaspora Council to meet today

The Hungarian Diaspora Council will hold its seventh plenary session in Budapest on Thursday, the national policy secretariat announced on Wednesday.

The Hungary Helps Programme, which organises Hungary’s contributions to migration areas, will make its debut.

A plenary session will be held at the Varkert Bazar in Budapest on November 8 and Prime Minister Viktor Orban will also make a contribution.

Leaders from 93 Hungarian organisations will attend this year’s meeting of the council.

Newcomers are from Denmark, Ireland and Spain and four new church organisations. (magyarhirlap.hu; magyaridok.hu; hir.ma.hu)
9th November, 2017

Family affairs cabinet formed

A family affairs cabinet was formed in Budapest on Wednesday. Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog and family affairs state secretary Katalin Novak announced at a press briefing that the first meeting discussed the establishment of a demographic policy institute named after the late sociologist Maria Kopp and various family support measures.

The family affairs cabinet is expected to meet once a month to draft recommendations and proposals for the cabinet but will not make any official decisions. (magyarhirlap.hu; magyaridok.hu; nepszava.hu; gondola.hu; hirado.hu; narancs.hu)
9th November, 2017

Lazar-Tiborcz meeting sparks rumours

PMO Minister Janos Lazar met with Istvan Tiborcz, the son-in-law of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, at the Borze restaurant on Tuesday evening, according to a photo taken by news website Azonnali.

It was a private meeting, Lazar told HVG in a video interview.

“On Monday MP Gyorgy Szilagyi asked in Parliament for my opinion on the business activities of Tiborcz and I thought that I would ask Tiborcz himself; I would ask the competent person about it. That was it,” Lazar said.

Szilagyi’s question was generated by a fabricated story, the PMO head underlined, because it is absolutely clear that Tiborcz is not getting any public procurements.

Elios, a company that used to be owned by Tiborcz, won a series of public procurements to provide street lighting for local governments.

It was the PMO which allocated EU subsidies for the projects. OLAF, the anti-corruption agency of the EU, is currently investigating the tenders won by Elios.

Tiborcz sold his stake in Elios in 2015. (azonnali.hu; napi.hu; hvg.hu; index.hu; 444.hu; mno.hu)
9th November, 2017

New sports complex opens

A Ft 15 billion government-supported Haladas club sports complex was dedicated in Szombathely on Wednesday.

Deputy speaker Csaba Hende, Fidesz MP for the town, said the complex provides home to practically every kind of sporting event and will offer sporting opportunities for young people. Its energy consumption is economical and its upkeep will probably not cost more than the old, dismantled sports centre, he said.

Mayor Tivadar Puskas said both the developers and the town can be proud of the sports complex that was built in 18 months.

Lorinc Meszaros’s team Osijek from Croatia was originally scheduled to play on Wednesday evening. Its president is Zsolt Homlok, the son-in-law of Meszaros. Homlok became president of Haladas in 2013 when he worked as the executive manager of Swietelsky Vasuttechnika and the company lent its name to the Vas county team. Last year Homlok was relieved of his post but remained the president of Haladas. He married Meszaros’s daughter last summer.

Only Nemzeti Sport and Vas Nepe, the newspapers owned by Meszaros, and the state news agency were allowed to cover the inauguration of the complex built from public funds, while the more critical media were not permitted on the premises.

News website 444 writes that the original cost of the stadium was Ft 8.8 billion, then a Ft 13.1 billion bid coming from the Swietelsky-ZAEV consortium was approved without having the required collateral. The cabinet paid the bill, which eventually swelled to Ft 15.6 billion. (nyugat.hu; 444.hu; hvg.hu; 168ora.hu; magyaridok.hu)
9th November, 2017

Matolcsy asked to explain foundation’s pricey carpets

A foundation that was set up by the MNB has purchased four carpets for a total of Ft 23 million. Socialist MP Gergely Barandy asked MNB governor Gyorgy Matolcsy in Parliament yesterday whether this transaction was justified.

The carpets will decorate the 800-year old building on Uri utca in the Buda castle, the governor answered, and this is an exclusive environment used to train economists.

The wool carpets are handmade by Art-Kelim, a company in Bekesszentandras, Matolcsy underlined.

The MNB foundation supports the carpet manufacturer to ensure the survival of this traditional method, he added. (24.hu; 444.hu; hvg.hu)
9th November, 2017

Lazar launches book, exhibit about art collectors

Historian Peter Molnos’s book entitled Lost Heritage – Hungarian Art Collectors in the 20th Century was presented at the Kieselbach Gallery in Budapest on Wednesday.

An exhibition related to art collection also opened on the same day.

Documents and photos never before published present the stories of Gyula Andrassy, Adolf Kohner, Marcell Nemes, Mor Lipot Herczog and Ferenc Hatvany, and the tragic story of their world-renowned collections.

PMO leader Janos Lazar said in opening the exhibition that the book presents five art collectors who are important to Hungary for their support of fine arts, among other reasons.

He stressed that the art collectors were simultaneously Hungarian and European, nationalist and cosmopolitan and represented the highest international standards in perhaps the most successful era of Budapest and of the nation.

Lazar said proceeds from the sale of the book will be given to charity.

Molnos said his book came about as a result of over 17 years of research and 18 months of writing.

Gallery head Tamas Kieselbach said Molnos’s book is the 40th to be published by the gallery and three other titles are planned on the history of Hungarian art collecting. (magyaridok.hu; magyarhirlap.hu; promenad.hu)
9th November, 2017

Echo TV gets a makeover

A revamped Echo TV will begin operations in the building of the former Nap TV on December 4, deputy managing director Peter Szikszai told Magyar Idok on Wednesday.

He said the station definitely continues to have a right-wing orientation with plenty of programmes where interviewees can express their opinion, including a Zsolt Bayer talk show which viewers will be able to see in a 16:9 format and HD quality.

He said ”we are objective, like RTL, balanced like ATV and as unbiased as HirTV, and as a matter of course we will also honour the media law”. (comment.blog.hu; origo.hu; magyaridok.hu; propeller.hu)

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