A bus driver from the southern town of Kaposvár stole a bus from his employer Kapos Volan and sold it to a friend. The vehicle was reported missing last Thursday and the police had apprehended the culprit within hours, the state news agency MTI reported. The 1983 Ikarus bus was found in the courtyard of a house in the nearby village of Kadarkút, while the new “owners” were in the process of disassembling it. After his arrest, the bus driver admitted stealing the bus and selling it for half a million forints (EUR 2,164), about a fifth of the vehicle’s estimated value.
Hungary’s entry into the Schengen system has resulted in a 19% drop in registered illegal immigrants in 2008 compared to 2007, said National Police deputy István Samu. The amount of foreigners trying to leave the country unlawfully into Austria, Slovenia, and Slovakia has gone down by 78% but, the amount of immigrants, mostly Pakistani, Iraqi, and Somalians, trying to get through Hungary’s boarders to apply for refugee status via the Ukraine border has risen 28%. Despite that figure, the border control is still operating very well, said Samu.
Health Minister Tamás Székely promised pay rises in the state healthcare sector providing the revenues collected by the National Health Insurance Fund (OEP) remain in excess of expenditure. If current trends continue, the OEP will have a surplus HUF 10 billion (EUR 43.39 million) by the end of the year, the minister told the financial daily Napi Gazdaság. Unveiling his two-year healthcare plan, the minister also promised the introduction of flexible and part-time working for national health service staff. A planned new regulatory framework for healthcare provision, scheduled for January, will include caps on the number of patients hospitals can take in, while bringing in fixed minimum levels for standard of service and treatment.
The Independent Ambulance Workers Union has won a court case against the National Ambulance Service, which is now required to retroactively hand the employees HUF 500 million (EUR 2.15 million) of unpaid allowances over the next five years. In 2004 the union bagn proceeding to sue the state service for being deprived of loyalty pay, retirement bonuses and other allowances when the collective bargaining agreement was ended. Lajos Toma, head of the Ambulance Union, reported that senior ambulance service officials said they are not exactly sure how they will obtain the funds, but are working on a solution.
Unemployment averaged 7.6% in the second quarter of 2008, according to figures released last week by the Central Statistical Office (KSH). Although this is 0.1% lower than in the first quarter, it represents a yr-on-yr rise of 0.6%. Currently 3,869,000 of Hungary’s population of ten million are in some form of registered employment. Only 56.5% of Hungarians aged between 15 and 64 are in work or actively seeking employment, one of the lowest rates in the EU.
Romania may surpass Hungary in per capita GDP in two years if the Romanian economy continues with its current rate of expansion, Leonard Orban, EU Multilingualism Commissioner told the economic daily Ziarul Financiar. Romania has impressed Brussels with its handling of its economy, Orban asserted. The GDP of Romania, which has a population of 22 million, was EUR 116.9 billion in 2007, while that of Hungary, with ten million inhabitants, was EUR 93.3 billion. Romanian growth will be speeded up by EU funds, which are expected to increase in the future. The country was awarded EUR 595 million from the EU in its first year of membership, and will soon receive EUR 3-4 billion annually. Of the new members, Poland received the most support in 2007, netting EUR 5.1 billion. Hungary’s balance of contribution and support was also positive last year, to the tune of EUR 1.6 billion, the newspaper added.
The number of registered businesses in Hungary rose 298,000, or 22.5%, to 1.62 million in the first half year, and was 342,000, or 26.7%, higher than at the end of June 2007, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) reported last Thursday. At the same time registered companies rose by 15,467, or 2.9%, to 546,576, while sole proprietorships climbed by 282,482, or 40.2%, to 985,077 in the first six months of 2008. KSH business analyst Katalin Ambrus explained that the rise in sole proprietorships was a result of primary producers being obliged to register for a tax number with the State Tax Authority APEH for the first time as of 1 January. The lowering of liability from HUF 3 million to HUF 500,000 for limited liability companies last autumn also played a part in the rise over the last 12 months, she added.
The early repayment of foreign currency loans can be worthwhile due to the strengthening forint, says ING Bank analyst Dávid Németh. Those who took out Swiss franc loans two years ago stand to gain the most, as the Swiss currency is now worth 30% less against the forint as it was in 2006. Those considering early repayment should consider the cost of prepayment as well as the divergence between the bank’s exchange rates for lending and repayment, Németh added. Early repayment can be a good idea for short-term consumer loans with high interest rates, but the cost of prepayment penalties on any loan have to be taken into account.
people, mostly children, were injured on Sunday, 20 July when a swing carousel
collapsed. The accident happened at a fÄ™te (falunap) in the Pest County village of Tök. Two of those injured were put in
intensive care with life-threatening injuries, two kept in for observation and
13 allowed to leave hospital the same day. It came out later in the week that
the same fairground ride was responsible for the death of a 21-year-old man at
the 1999 Sziget festival. The operators denied that the same fairground ride
was involved in both disasters, but the fact was confirmed by Budaörs police. A
preliminary investigation blamed the failure on sub-standard welding.
afternoon of 20 July the body of a 15-year-old girl was found in a summer house
in Salgótarján, northeastern Hungary.
Police report that the girl had suffered several head injuries caused by being
hit with a brick. A 26-year-old man, husband of the victim’s sister, has
confessed to the crime and also admitted that he and the girl used to commit
crimes together. The perpetrator has a record of violent crimes and robberies.