The government will hand out up to EUR 6 billion in rural development funding in the period leading up to 2013, Minister of Agriculture József Gráf said last Tuesday. The figure includes EUR 5 billion in EU funding that Hungary could access, with the aim of reducing the gap in the standard of living between cities and rural areas. Aside from rural community developments the funds will also go toward subsidising small businesses.
Budapest dwarfs other parts of the country in terms of tourist numbers, with 5.2 million guest nights spent here last year, according to Magyar Turizmus. The spa resort areas of Héviz (927,000) at the southern tip of Lake Balaton and Hajdúszoboszló (823,000), Eastern Hungary, rounded out the top three. In January-June of 2007 Hungarian and foreign tourists spent 7.991 million guest nights in commercial accommodations, up 1% yr-on-yr.
The central budget cash-based deficit fell by 26.1% yr-on-yr to HUF 913.10 billion for the January to July period. The figure does not include municipalities. The Finance Ministry said this was slightly worse than the budgeted figure of HUF 908.60 billion. Still, the inflows and outflows reveal that spending was up by 6.2% and represented 57.1% of the planned spending for the year. At the same time last year, the government had gone through 55.4% of its budget. Although the government has called the 2007 budget an austerity one after registering a deficit of 9.2% in 2006, revenues reveal that taxpayers are bearing the brunt of the pain, with tax revenues up by 13.5% yr-on-yr. The 2007 deficit planned for 6.8% will now be 6.4% according to Finance Ministry estimates.Industrial output rose by 8.7% yr-on-yr in June, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) reported last Tuesday. Industrial production was 8.2% higher in H1, yr-on-yr.
Pláza Centers NV, the most prolific developer of shopping centres in Hungary, last week announced the sale of itsÂ huge Arena Pláza shopping and entertainment complex, almost three months before the development is due to open.
Hungary’s leading telecommunications firm Magyar Telekom said last Thursday that its first-half net income had dropped by 7.5% to HUF 34.2 billion (EUR 136.81 million) in face of higher taxes. While revenue grew by 5% to HUF 328.4 billion (EUR 1.31 billion), Magyar Telekom said that the introduction of the 4% “solidarity” tax and other higher taxes had hit income. The increased revenue was due to growth in the mobile and internet sectors, which offset a decrease in the fixed-line business. While the decrease in net income was higher than analysts expected, the revenue increase met the projections. Chairman and CEO Christopher Mattheisen said that the company was on track to meet its 2007 targets despite difficult macroeconomic conditions.
Miklós Páncsics, a member of the Hungarian football team that won an Olympic gold in 1968 and part of the Ferencváros team in the 1960s and 1970s, has died aged 64 after a serious illness, Ferencváros announced on their website last Tuesday. He played 323 games for Ferencváros, Hungary’s most successful club team, winning three league titles and one cup. He was part of the Hungarian football team that won a gold medal in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico and then followed it up with a silver medal in 1972 in Munich. Ferencváros have won 28 titles, but are now languishing in the second division and suffering financial difficulties.
Thieves are taking full advantage of hospitals closing under the current healthcare reform by making off with anything that is not nailed down, the daily Magyar Hírlap reported last Tuesday. Zsuzsanna Kárpáti, head of the Institute for Healthcare Equipment, said that security guards had caught people in the act of trying to steal anything from microwaves to bedding. Some medical equipment has also been stolen and Kárpáti said that the final loss would likely exceed a million euros. Ferenc Varga, chairman of the Hospital Association, said that theft took place every day in hospitals across the country as it was easy to access hospital buildings.
After being snubbed by Budapest Airport deputy chief executive Dimitrios Gatsonis last Thursday, the independent trade union of airport safety controllers at Ferihegy said in a statement that “It appears increasingly likely that another strike is unavoidable”. Talks between disgruntled workers and Budapest Airport management were set to continueÂ Monday. Unions held an eight-hour strike on the day of the Formula 1 race. Workers are demanding a wage increase of around 10% but management has only offered 5.5% – cutting its offer to this figure after the strike. The strike delayed over 80 flights, although none were cancelled.
Three women who were abducted in Budapest last Tuesday night managed to free themselves and contact the police although one of them was raped during the ordeal, they said. The women say that four men stopped them, with one of the men claiming to be a police officer, before bundling them into the vehicle. Two of the women were then locked in a mobile home and a third in a container, where she says she was beaten and raped. The two women in the mobile home then overpowered their guard and freed the other woman before calling the police from a nearby petrol station. Five men have been arrested.
The number of people visiting outpatient clinics and other hospital facilities in Csongrád County has dropped by 20% since the introduction of visit fees in March, the local daily Délmagyarország said last Wednesday. The number of outpatients at Szeged hospital dropped by 20% while admissions dropped by 17%, the newspaper quoted hospital director László Pajor as saying.