The Budapest Times is unrivalled among English-language print publications in the capital for its coverage of the week’s most important national stories, whether they be economic, political, cultural, sporting or among the hundreds of other happenings that go on daily in a major European city. Here, in one concise package, we present some of the important and fascinating news developments of the past seven days.
Pancho Arena grand kick-off on Easter Monday
The first of three major football stadium developments to be completed this year will be finished by Easter and the ground in Felcsút will be called Pancho Arena. Pancho was the Spanish nickname of Ferenc Puskás, one of the greatest Hungarian footballers ever, who has also given his name to the team of Felcsút (Puskás Ferenc Football Academy). The first game will take place on Easter Monday, 21 April, and will be the final of the Puskás Cup, an international youth football tournament. Entry will be free but pre-registration is mandatory due to the limited capacity (pfla.hu – Hungarian only).
Withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, protection of minority rights and the Hungarian government’s clear backing of Ukraine were among the demands expressed by E14-PM leader Gordon Bajnai in a flashmob outside the Russian embassy in Budapest on Sunday. Bajnai demanded that the Russian government withdraw its troops from Ukraine without delay and enforce its true interests through international organisations, such as the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He called on the Ukrainian parliament and government to pay increased attention to the protection of minority rights. Bajnai urged the Hungarian government to clearly express its support for Ukraine’s independence, territorial integrity and the Hungarian ethnic minorities living there. He said the government should declare that “as long as the Russian soldiers are treading on Ukrainian land”, the agreement with Russia on the planned Paks nuclear power station upgrade be suspended. The government should suspend all negotiations with Russia about a HUF 3,000 billion credit connected to the upgrade. Read more about the latest from Ukraine on P14.
Chinese cough up for 415 Hungarian residency bonds
Sales of securities linked to special government bonds that accelerate applications for permanent residency in Hungary reached 415 in China last year, Lien Wang, CEO of the Hungary State Special Debt Fund (HSSDF), has said in Budapest. Parliament approved legislation in 2012 that allows foreign nationals who invest at least EUR 250,000 in securities to access an accelerated application procedure for permanent residency in Hungary. HSSDF, registered in the Cayman Islands, is one of seven agents that can issue the residency bonds, according to the Government Debt Management Agency’s website. It started selling the papers in mid-2013.
DK calls on Orbán to ‘come clean’ on 2006 riots
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán should “come clean” and declare publicly whether he was behind violent anti-government protests in 2006, Szabolcs Kerék-Bárczy, board member of the leftist Democratic Coalition (DK), has said. Kerék-Bárczy, citing Wikileaks documents, voiced a strong suspicion that Orbán and others in his Fidesz party had been aware of the “lies speech” of then-prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány before it was leaked, and had manipulated the course of events. Kerék-Bárczy said he wanted to know when exactly and in what circumstances Fidesz leaders had learnt about the Gyurcsány speech, with whom they had discussed its contents, and if they had managed or coordinated the protests that led to street clashes with police after 17 September 2006, when the speech was made public. The Wikileaks documents were presented on commercial television ATV last week in an interview with Róbert Braun, a candidate for the leftist Unity alliance. In reaction, Fidesz said it was time leftist parties apologised “for lying to the people for years”. The ruling party said the left had “nobody else to blame but itself” for the 2006 events and the Socialist coalition’s eventual fall.
Signs indicating no smoking and designated smoking area signs must now be posted in A4 format and give the same warnings in Hungarian, English, French, German and Russian. They must include the regular-tariff phone number (06) 40 200-493 number and the website www.leteszemacigit.hu, where violations of the no smoking regulations can be reported and help can be requested to quit the habit.
Fewer doctors, more nurses, dentists seek work abroad
The number of Hungarian doctors leaving Hungary to work abroad has dropped, whereas the number of nurses, pharmacists and dentists with similar plans has risen, daily Magyar Hírlap has reported. Last year 1,950 health sector workers applied for certificates to work abroad, 111 fewer than in 2012, said the paper, citing figures by the healthcare public administration office that issues the certificates. The number of applications submitted by specialists had dropped by 120 compared with 2012. Among specialists, 68 internists, 56 anaesthesiologists, 48 surgeons, 35 paediatricians, 33 gynaecologists and 23 cardiologists registered with the office to work abroad. In a reverse trend, the number of nurses going abroad went up in 2013 to 536 from 518 in 2012 and compared with 314 two years before. Last year 263 dentists and 77 pharmacists left Hungary, 20% more than in 2012, according to Magyar Hírlap. The most popular location last year was Germany, taking the lead from Britain.
New museums planned to be built as part of the Liget Budapest project in City Park are expected to add 21st-century features to the city’s architecture while treating Budapest’s historical heritage with respect, Minister for Human Resources Zoltán Balog has said. Six museums will be set up in five buildings, including the New National Gallery and Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Ethnography, the House of Hungarian Music, the Photo Museum Budapest and the Hungarian Architecture Museum along the Dózsa György thoroughfare. An eleven-member international jury will announce the results of the tenders in December, and the museums are planned to be completed at a total cost of HUF 75 billion by 2018, Balog said. László Baán, government commissioner and director-general of the Museum of Fine Arts, said the Liget Budapest project, involving the revamp of the entire City Park, would cost HUF 150 billion. In addition to the five museums, a new state-of-the-art circus will be built, the zoo will be significantly expanded and the lakes and green areas will be modernised. Additionally, a new science and entertainment centre for children will be built and the Museum of Transport revamped and expanded. Liget Budapest would attract more tourists to Budapest, so the investment would return relatively soon, Baan said.