Népszava: Fidesz has rewritten the laws of business competition

Népszava claims that ruling party Fidesz has rewritten the laws governing business competition to simplify the reordering of the Hungarian media market. Proof of this, the paper states, is that the Hungarian Competition Authority approved the sale of Mediaworks, former publisher of left-wing newspaper Népszabadság, to the Lőrinc Mészáros-linked Opimus Group in the span of just a few days.

It notes that until the purchase, Opimus had no direct interests in the publishing industry. Népszabadság’s operations were unexpectedly shut down by Mediaworks on October 8.

Tanítanék calls on State Secretary Palkovics to step down

Katalin Törley, representative of the Tanítanék Movement, today called on State Secretary for Education László Palkovics to resign from his position. Törley claims that Palkovics is personally responsible for the continuing problems in Hungarian public education, and that he did not respond to an invitation from the group to an open debate on October 20.

“László Palkovics is primarily accountable to the citizens of Hungary, students, parents, and school staff, not his boss,” stated Törley.

As reported by Index, Tanítanék has even composed a resignation letter for Palkovics to use that explains why he is unfit to continue working in his position.

IMF sees strong growth in region, with Hungary lagging behind

A new report by the International Monetary Fund sees economic growth for much of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe as “solid.” However, it claims that Hungary’s growth in GDP will only be 2.0% in 2016 and 2.5% in 2017.

According to napi.hu, Hungary’s numbers are below the expected average GDP growth for the Central-Eastern European region, which the IMF predicts to be 2.8% this year and 3.0% next year.

Hungary hoping to benefit from Brexit

The Hungarian government is hoping to lure several important European Union institutions and large Western organizations from London to Hungary due to the fallout from Brexit, claims Hungary Minister of National Economy Mihály Varga.

Varga told Magyar Idők that Hungary has already submitted an application to host the EU’s bank supervising authority, and intends to compete for the Union’s pharmaceutical authority as well.

“There are a number of EU bodies with headquarters currently in London, and these authorities will certainly relocate to other countries,” stated Varga, noting that it would increase Hungary’s role and influence within the EU if one or more of them found a new home in Budapest.

Government official: there is no person named Ghaith Pharaon in Hungary

Károly Kontrát, Parliamentary State Secretary for the Interior Ministry, claims in an article in Magyar Idők that there is no one named Ghaith Pharaon living in Hungary, and that he has not bought real estate here.

“If there is a Ghaith Pharaon who is the same person that is on the American authorities’ most wanted list and this person steps on Hungarian soil, we will catch him immediately,” Kontrát said.

As previously reported, a company linked to Saudi businessman Ghaith Pharoan, who is wanted in the United States, recently bought a piece of property next to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s residence. (via HVG)

Hungary’s Residency Bond Program is “alive and well”

A sponsored article has appeared on ArabianBusiness.com promoting Hungary’s controversial Residency Bond Program, claiming that it is “alive and well.” The article noted Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s remarks on Hungarian State Radio on Friday that the government would not give in to demands from opposition party Jobbik to cancel the program.

Orbán commented on the issue “in response to rumours that the program might end on 8 November.” Although Orbán feels the Residency Bond Program is “worth reviewing,” he stated that there has not been a decision to cancel it yet.

Depressing new data on Hungary’s Roma population

A new report from Hungary’s Central Statistical Office shows that, among other data, 80 percent of Roma in Hungary aged 15-64 only have an elementary school education, while this proportion is 20 percent among non-Roma.

The educational disadvantage in this group is reflected in the workforce as well, according to Magyar Nemzet: in 2015, only 39 percent of Roma capable of working are employed, compared to 65 percent of those who are not Roma.

The Central Statistical Office has made a distinction between Roma and non-Roma workers in tracking their employment since 2014.

Have MSZP and DK made an agreement to divide up Budapest?

HVG summarizes recent articles in Magyar Idők and Magyar Nemzet claiming that leading left-wing parties MSZP and DK have agreed to split up Budapest amongst themselves for the next elections in 2018.

According to Magyar Idők, out of the 18 voting districts in the capital, MSZP will run its candidates in 11 of them and DK will run its candidates in the remaining 7 districts. Magyar Nemzet reports that the list of candidates has been ready for weeks, but that no official decision has been made on it yet by MSZP.

Both MSZP and DK officially denied news of any agreement.