Debrecen is to sell its airport and operating company, the mayor of Hungary’s second largest city, Lajos Kósa (Fidesz), announced last month. He announced last week his intention to put the proposal before the council meeting on 6 September, and said he believes an invitation to tender will be ready the following month. Kósa said he is looking for a strategic investor with the capability to dramatically increase the number of international flights to and from the airport. The local authority of Debrecen has invested some HUF 4.7 billion (EUR 18.5 million) in developing the airport since 1994. He did not reveal whether 100% of the company will be up for grabs, or if the local council intends to retain a stake. He stressed that the buyer will be required to continue operating the site as an airport and employ local staff. The airport is currently used for charter flights, mostly to holiday destinations such as Turkey and Greece.
Spain’s third largest retail bank, La Caixa, intends to open a branch in Budapest, according to a report last week in Magyar Hírlap. The bank plans initially to offer its services to Spanish investors looking to finance real estate investments in Hungary, particularly Budapest. Spanish investors have shown a lot of interest recently in buying residential real estate in the capital, following the earlier wave of Irish and British investors, which still shows no signs of breaking. The bank subsequently hopes to capitalise on its well-known brand name to break into the domestic retail banking market.
Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány last Sunday opened “The Year of Hungary” – a series of events designed to raise Hungary’s profile – in Beijing. Economic events will take place in nine major Chinese cities and Hungarian artists will perform in Beijing and Shanghai during the eight months of the programme. Gyurcsány was expected to sign several agreements with China, including one to create the China Brand Trade Centre in Budapest. The centre is expected to operate as a hub for around 2,000 new Chinese companies. China has become a major partner for Hungary, with almost USD 5 billion in trade between the nations last year. The Hungarian Investment and Trade Development Agency and AsiaCenter signed a contract according to which the trade centre supports “The Year of Hungary”Â in China between September 2007 and April 2008 with EUR 100,000.
A UN body set up to promote equal rights for women has criticised Hungary for having too few women in public life, members of the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) said last week. MP Klára Sándor, quoting from a report by the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women) Committee, said the body was calling for quotas to bring more women into politics. According to the SZDSZ’s Bálint Magyar, Hungary is second-bottom out of all the EU member states when it comes to the number of women in Parliament. The two MPs said they had submitted a bill that would force parties to make 50% of their candidates female.
right-wing group hits backThe
recently formed extreme-right group Hungarian Guard (Magyar Gárda), condemned
by Jewish organisations and the government, last Friday said that it was being
misrepresented as fascist.Â
Representatives of all five of the political parties in Parliament met last Tuesday to discuss a proposal by main right-of-centre opposition party Fidesz to cut the cost of general elections. Fidesz wants cost cutting in IT and other areas and is also proposing cutting payments to election committee members. Fidesz MP Zsolt Nyitrai said that the last election was estimated to have cost around HUF 6.6 billion (EUR 25.96 million).
Magyar Gárda doesn’t add upAs a historian, what impression does this new Hungarian Guard group make on you?A very contradictory impression. The induction of 56 “guards” is to be understood as an allusion to the anti-Soviet uprising of 1956. On the other hand, the black uniforms of the members of the Hungarian Guard display the red and white stripes of the Árpád dynasty…
The government has set aside HUF 56 billion (EUR 220.44 million) to make Hungary more bicycle-friendly over the next seven years, Minister for Economy and Transport János Kóka announced last Wednesday. The money, which comes largely from European Union sources, will be used to expand the network of bicycle paths and also to promote the riding of bicycles. Budapest Mayor Gábor Demszky said the city was hoping to boost bicycle traffic to around 5% of total traffic by 2013. The current level is around 2%.
The German CDU party and the UK Conservative party are to help main Hungarian opposition party Fidesz draw up its party programme, news website HírszerzĹ‘ reported last week. At his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Budapest two weeks ago, Fidesz chairman Viktor Orbán and Merkel agreed that Fidesz and the CDU will send delegates to each other’s programme committees and will develop a joint concept for NATO and EU policies. According to the website, Fidesz is also planning to pick up tips from the UK Conservative party, and caucus leader Tibor Navracsics will attend the Tory conference in Blackpool. According to HírszerzĹ‘, Fidesz’s new party programme, which is planned for late autumn, will be “valid” until the 2010 general elections, but will not be made public because of the Fidesz leadership’s fears that the governing Socialist-liberal coalition would “take it apart” and block their proposals point by point.
Tattoos have become extremely popular over the last decade, and not
just with sailors, motorcycle gangs and rebels without causes. It is now the
kindergarten teachers, family doctors, bus drivers, suburban mothers and
florists who are adorning themselves with permanent body art. Due to such a
huge demand, tattoo parlors are popping up all over the world to serve their
ink thirsty customers. The world has gone tattoo crazy.Â