The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) last week submitted a draft resolution to Parliament that would take the first steps toward allowing parents to choose their child’s gender, Socialist MP Zsolt Török said last week. Török said that law was necessary to reduce the number of abortions and address gender imbalances. The small opposition Hungarian Democratic Forum said it opposed the initiative, while junior coalition party the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) said it was yet to formulate a stance on the matter.
Hungary’s food stores came out fourth best in a study of seven regional countries plus Russia, but the major failing came in customer service. The study, by International Service Check, found that while Hungarian stores scored highly in the fields of layout and checkout system, but scored abysmally when it came to dealing with customers.
Automotive parts producer Rába has signed a three-year supply contract with Russian Gaz Group for the period 2007-2010 and with a total value of HUF 16.5 billion (EUR 67 million).
Union activists demonstrated against the Suzuki factory in Esztergom to protest the eleven-hour working day introduced by the company on 1 July. The demonstrators were not Suzuki employees, who allegedly are afraid of reprisals. Philosopher Miklós Tamás Gáspár took part in the demonstration.
Shell Hungary has set up a gas trade division with the intention of operating in the industrial segment of the market, CEO István Varga announced last week.
The chief of the Linamar Corporation, which manufactures cars parts and agricultural machinery, last week threatened to pull out of Hungary after failing to secure its goal of de-listing Linamar Hungary from the Budapest Stock Exchange. Linamar Corporation, the majority shareholder, asked for the vote, but it fell just short of gaining the required support level of 75% of the shareholders present at the meeting. Linamar Corporation CEO Linda Hasenfratz said that if her company was not able to acquire the shares at a reasonable price, it would “need to look alternative locations” for its European production centre.
Locals in the village of Kulcs, located near the Hankook tire factory in Dunaújváros, last week started a referendum aimed at stopping the South Korean giant from building a residential park for 400 of its employees. Hankook wants to buy 21 hectares in the village and build apartments and homes, as well as a new community centre for the village. The project would cost a total of around HUF 6 billion (EUR 24.33 million).
A foreign investor is planning to build a second-generation biofuel plant in an old alumina factory in AlmásfüzitĹ‘, north Hungary, the head of Iverg Consulting said last week. Pál Gágyor, who is involved in the negotiations, said the investment would cost HUF 100 billion (EUR 406 million) and that the new plant would produce 320,000 tonnes of fuel from one million tones of maize annually. Second generation biofuels give out around 30% more energy than earlier types and can be mixed with traditional fuel without damaging car engines.
The National Health Fund spent 14.1% less on drug subsidies – HUF 158.4 billion (EUR 642.8 million) – in the first half of this year than in the previous year, a fund official said. Drug companies are also struggling to collect on monies owed by hospitals, the business daily Magyar Hírlap said, claiming that the hospitals owed billions of forints. The paper said that confusion brought about by healthcare reform was partly to blame.
The head of the Christian Democrats (KDNP) last week said that his party wished to initiate a debate on restricting Sunday working hours to a bare minimum. Zsolt Semjén claimed that working on a Sunday was unconstitutional and said the party wanted to restore Sunday as a holiday.