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910,000 Hungarians Live in a District With No Family Doctor

Data from the National Hospital General Directorate (OKF) as of July 1 show a total of 842 long-term doctor vacancies in Hungary, of which 600 were family doctors and 242 were dentists, reports

Close to half of doctors working in primary care are in the 56-65 age group, and 30% are actively working past their retirement age.

Zoltán Komáromi, DK parliamentary representative and a health care expert, stated that 909,720 people currently live in a district that lacks a family doctor, and 725,430 do not have a dentist in their district. According to Komáromi, the number of people without a health care professional in their district has grown by 80%. [Telex]

Hungary May Experience Serious Fuel Shortage, Says Gas Station Interest Group

Some gas stations don’t have diesel, but there are others where no fuel at all is available, Gábor Egri, President of the Alliance of Independent Gas Stations, told RTL News. Within the next few weeks, there could be huge problems with Hungary’s diesel supply, said Egri.

At Saturday’s Government Information briefing, Chancellor Minister Gergely Gulyás said that a new directive would spur fuel savings, and that no new restrictions were expected.

But Gábor Egri thinks that the entire policy of a price cap on gasoline should be repealed, and welfare benefits provided to less-privileged motorists. The government, however, does not plan to lift the price cap until at least October.

On Sunday, economist Viktor Zsiday wrote that there could be more fuel shortages, and inflation is also on the rise. Only the government, which sees its revenue increase, can do well in such an environment. This essentially means an indirect tax increase that is paid by companies, argues Zsiday. [444]

Viktor Orbán Meets With Donald Trump in New Jersey

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held talks with Donald Trump at the former President’s estate in Bedminster, New Jersey, the Prime Minister’s press chief Bertalan Havasi told news agency MTI.

The Prime Minister posted a picture of himself together with Trump on social media, overlaid with text reading “In an Alliance for Peace!” Underneath the photo, a short statement read, “Meeting with American President Donald J. Trump.”

picture of Donald Trump and Viktor Orbán
(photo: Viktor Orbán / Facebook)

Accompanying the Prime Minister at the meeting were Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, Balázs Orbán, the Prime Minister’s Political Director, and Zsolt Németh, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament. Also present were Susie Wiles, CEO of the Save America Leadership PAC, consultant Brian Jack, and Taylor Budowich, Director of Communications for Save America.

As previously reported, Viktor Orbán left for the U.S. yesterday to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) event in Dallas this week. The Prime Minister has no plans to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden. [444]

David Pressman Hasn’t Even Arrived in Hungary, But Zsolt Bayer Has Already Told the New U.S. Ambassador to Leave

After the United States Senate confirmed David Pressman as the next U.S. Ambassador to Hungary last Thursday, pro-government pundit Zsolt Bayer expressed his extreme displeasure with the choice over the weekend in a blog post entitled, “Get the Hell Home!

Bayer, a staff writer for pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet, does not exactly indicate in his post the nature of his problem with David Pressman, writes 444, apart from the fact that the 45-year-old human rights lawyer and diplomat is not a conservative right-winger. However, this did not stop him from being foul-mouthed and insulting:

“Mr.” Ambassador should go home and consult with the dog-f***ing “Mr.” secretary for nuclear energy on the big questions of democracy and freedom. We are doing great here without guidance from idiots like you. Is that clear?

-wrote Bayer.

The reference to the “secretary for nuclear energy” likely refers to Sam Brinton, an assistant secretary for nuclear waste at the Department of Energy. The Hungarian right-wing press kicked up a big fuss about him a few weeks ago, since, in addition to being a qualified nuclear engineer, he reportedly spends his free time as a drag queen. But how this relates to Bayer’s ugly slur, or how Brinton is connected with the new ambassador, is not entirely clear.

At the end of his post, Bayer offers a bit more of an explanation as to why he has a problem with another country having the audacity to send an ambassador to Hungary:

For forty years, sausage-fingered, smelly-mouthed Soviet comrades wanted to tell us what the only path to salvation was. Now they have transformed into “woke,” cancel culture-loving neo-Marxist d**ckheads, and they continue where the Soviet comrades left off.

David Pressman previously represented the U.S. at the United Nations at an ambassadorial level between 2014 and 2017 under the presidency of Barack Obama, and also ran George and Amal Clooney’s foundation as executive director. According to HVG, Pressman spoke about the decline of democracy in Hungary at his Senate hearing, although he believes this phrasing obscures the intent behind the decline of democratic processes in the country. [444]

“Very High” Likelihood of Orbán-Trump Meeting at Dallas CPAC, Says Kovács

The Prime Minister has not gone on vacation. That’s fake news. Viktor Orbán is traveling to the United States, where he will give a speech at the opening of CPAC. There has been no change in this.

-said Bertalan Havasi, the prime minister’s press chief, to about Viktor Orbán’s plans.

The CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) website clearly shows that the Prime Minister will be a guest speaker at the event, Zoltán Kovács, State Secretary for International Communications and Relations, informed the news channel.

There had been speculation last week that the Prime Minister’s invitation to Dallas for CPAC might be in doubt over the controversy surrounding his use of the phrase “mixed race” while speaking at the Tusványos event in Băile Tușnad, Romania the previous weekend. News had also begun circulating that the Prime Minister would be going on vacation from today, but Bertalan Havasi has now denied this.

At a press conference last week, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó clarified to ATV that Viktor Orbán’s invitation was still valid. Szijjártó said that he had visited Washington two weeks ago and met with Congressional Republicans on tax and economic matters, but that they have a wide-ranging and intensive politicial cooperation with the U.S. political party.

The Minister told the news outlet he would be traveling to New York at the beginning of the week, and “of course will participate” in part of the Prime Minister’s visit to the US.

ATV asked Zoltán Kovács whether there might be a meeting between Viktor Orbán and Donald Trump in Dallas, since the former US president will also be a keynote speaker at CPAC.

The State Secretary responded that “the probability of this is quite high,” giving it a “10” when asked to rank the likelihood of such a meeting on a 10-point scale. []

Von Der Leyen Also Criticizes Orbán’s “Mixed Race” Comments

Ursula von der Leyen has also expressed her thoughts on Viktor Orbán’s speech at Tusványos about “mixed races.”

According to the President of the European Commission, discrimination on the basis of race tramples on the values ​​that are enshrined in international treaties, including the UN Charter of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.

As reported by Népszava, the European politician told Slovak news outlet that these values were universal and not subject to debate. “We have all undertaken to maintain and protect them,” she said, adding that the European Union is built upon equality, tolerance, fairness, and justice.

In the interview, von der Leyen also spoke about how she was optimistic about the future of democracy and Europe, asserting that “the covid crisis, and now our response to the Russian war of aggression, demonstrated a very important thing: democracies and Europe are performing well.”

While speaking in Băile Tușnad, Romania, during the Bálványos Summer Free University and Student Camp (informally known as Tusványos) last weekend, Viktor Orbán stated that he didn’t want Hungary to “become a mixed race.”

Since then, the Prime Minister has faced widespead criticism over the comments, such as from the U.S. Embassy in Hungary and in the Romanian media. The speech also prompted a longtime Orbán advisor to tender her resignation.

On Thursday, 67 members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) protested the speech in an online petition. As they wrote, “the idea of human races and their mixing is biologically flawed,” and therefore the academics “find it unacceptable that the Prime Minister associates the future of the Hungarian people with such a scientifically untenable doctrine and dangerous ideology.” [Magyar Hang]

Morawiecki: Poland and Hungary Have Parted Ways

“I confirm Prime Minister Orbán’s words that Poland and Hungary have parted ways,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday, when asked if he could identify with a comment made by Viktor Orbán in Băile Tușnad, Romania last Saturday on the deteriorating relationship between the two erstwhile allies.

Orbán stated that the war in Ukraine had jolted Polish-Hungarian relations, as Hungary sees the conflict as a war between two Slavic nations while the Poles have taken up the fight for themselves.

In response, Morawiecki said at a rural meeting on Friday that contrary to what Viktor Orbán had claimed, Poland is not taking part in the war in Ukraine. “The war is being fought by the Ukrainians,” he confirmed.

However, his country is trying to help the Ukrainians “survive the brutal Russian attack” and “preserve their territorial integrity,” said the Polish Prime Minister, as reported by Polsat News and [Magyar Hang]

David Pressman Confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary

The United States Senate voted 61-30 on Thursday to confirm David Pressman as the next U.S. Ambassador to Hungary. Only Republican senators voted against confirming the diplomat and civil rights lawyer, although Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted in favor of him. Nine senators did not cast a vote.

The 45-year-old was nominated for the post by President Joe Biden in May. A Democrat, Pressman is the former director of George and Amal Clooney’s foundation, and worked as a human rights lawyer and aide to recently-deceased former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Between 2014-2017, under President Barack Obama, Pressman served as the United States ambassador to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs. He is currently a partner at the New York office of law firm Jenner & Block. Pressman is still awaiting the swearing-in for his ambassadorial post in Budapest.

The Hungarian press has commented on David Pressman’s advocacy work for LGBTQ rights and on the fact that he also led a working group that fought for the recognition of this community in U.S. foreign affairs. But HVG notes that he his area of competence extends far beyond this field.

The news outlet suggests that Pressman’s nomination by President Biden may be more related to the Russian-Ukrainian war than to the Hungarian government’s position on the LGBTQ movement. The newly-confirmed ambassador not only has expertise in minority rights, but also in the area of national security. Under two U.S. presidents, he worked directly for three cabinet members in positions connected to national security and law enforcement.

At his Senate hearing, the diplomat stated that current assessments of Hungary show a decline of democracy in the country, but that this decline is a euphemism, as it conceals the intentions behind the erosion of press freedom and the influence of the judiciary. This topic needs to be discussed with government officials, but civil organizations also have to be supported as much as possible so that they can take part in democratic processes. [HVG]

Orbán Advisor Calls Resignation “Unnecessary,” Decides He Isn’t So Bad After All

(UPDATED – see below)

Just a few days after announcing her resignation in protest over Viktor Orbán’s “pure Nazi” speech, advisor Zsuzsa Hegedüs indicated that her resignation had “become unnecessary” after the Prime Minister’s comments in Vienna yesterday, several Hungarian media outlets are reporting.

The Prime Minister’s commissioner for social mobility expressed this in a letter to the Fidesz leader, in which Hegedüs wrote that Orbán’s statement in Vienna had convinced her that he had “publicly distanced himself” from “incriminating phrases” in the speech delivered on Saturday at the annual Tusványos summer gathering.

Because of our 20 years of acquaintance and friendship, I also know what this public correction has cost you, so I appreciate you now taking this step even more than the topic itself would justify. So much so that my first reaction was that with this public statement, my resignation has become unnecessary But even more importantly, after some thought, I still think so a few hours later – I consider it unnecessary.

-the advisor wrote in her letter.

So, just as before 2010 and of course after that, regardless of whether I am officially your chief advisor or not, you can count on my help in the future, as you have in the past 20 years.

-Hegedüs closed her letter to Viktor Orbán.

Speaking on ATV‘s “Egyenes Beszéd” (“Straight Talk”) on Thursday night, Hegedüs said she was “proud of what Orbán said in Vienna.” It appeared that the Prime Minister had backtracked, she said, adding that it is rare for a leader in an international venue to correct his views, which in this case had caused quite a “fuss.” [444]

UPDATE (17:30 CEST): Hegedüs has informed Telex that despite her letter to Viktor Orbán on Friday, she will still resign her advisory position. “The letter does not mean that I am rescinding my resignation,” she told the news outlet.

Orbán Visits Vienna, Claims Tusványos Speech Is About Culture, Not Race

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán visited Austria on Thursday to hold talks with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer. Orbán was officially invited to discuss the migration issue and the war in Ukraine, but Nehammer indicated he would also ask the Prime Minister about his speech at the Tusványos summer gathering in Băile Tușnad, Romania, on Saturday.

During their joint press conference, Orbán stated that he was in agreement with Austrians on the issues of anti-Semitism and racism. “What the Austrian Chancellor thinks is also what I think,” said the Prime Minister, adding that in politics, “a biologically-based approach is not possible. What is possible is a culturally-based approach.”

“I have a clear and direct position,” continued Orbán. “I define myself as an anti-migration and anti-immigration politician. This isn’t a racial issue, but a cultural issue. We want to maintain our civilization the way it is now.” The Hungarian Premier believes his country differs from Austria in this matter, as he pledged that Hungary would always protect its borders.

The Hungarian Prime Minister also said that sometimes he expresses things in a way that can be misunderstood.

The press conference held with the Austrian chancellor is Orbán’s first public event since his speech in Tusványos, which has provoked negative reactions and prompted a long-time advisor to quit over his comments on not wanting Hungarians to “become a mixed race.”

Dozens of protesters were waiting for the Prime Minister’s arrival on Thursday in front of the Austrian Chancellor’s office building, booing him when he arrived, reported Telex‘s correspondent. [HVG, Magyar Narancs]

Gov’t Sets Up Emergency Task Force to Deal With Drought

Agricultural Minister István Nagy announced the formation of an emergency task force on Thursday to deal with Hungary’s worsening drought. Nagy said that nearly half of Europe suffers from a lack of precipitation, and Hungary is facing an historic drought.

By now, the vast majority of the country has experienced a severe or major drought situation. Fighting this and guaranteeing a safe supply of food are priorities for the Ministry of Agriculture, confirmed István Nagy.

The drought is causing serious problems in the agricultural sector, with a 25% loss of wheat crops and the loss of the corn harvest in large parts of the Great Plain and Central Hungary. The continued lack of water is threatening crops in the Transdanubian region as well, said the Minister.

Grass in the Great Plains region have completely dried out, with farmers unable to have their livestock graze. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that there could be as many as one million hectares of arable land affected by the drought.

The minister stated that the task force would immediately start working on overcoming the challenges confronting farmers and Hungarian agriculture. [Magyar Hang]

U.S. Embassy Responds to Orbán’s Tusványos Speech

In a short statement, the United States Embassy in Hungary issued a short statement that appeared to be a response to Viktor Orbán’s comments at Tusványos on “mixed races” a few days ago:

The U.S. Embassy condemns all ideologies, policies, and rhetoric that give oxygen to the doctrines of hate and division. We must never forget that what began as racist and xenophobic rhetoric by 20th century leaders escalated, ultimately ending in the genocide of millions. Human dignity and equality know no national boundaries and we affirm that the diversity of our human family is one of its greatest strengths.

In his speech on Saturday, the Hungarian Prime Minister said, “We are willing to mix with each other, but we do not want to become a mixed race.”

Since then, the speech has been subject to criticism from many areas within Hungary and abroad. One of Orbán’s chief advisers, Zsuzsa Hegedüs, tendered her resignation on Tuesday over the matter, describing the Prime Minister’s words as an “openly racist speech… which even [Nazi propagandist] Goebbels would have liked. [Magyar Hang]

Two-Thirds of Hungarians Say Fidesz Lied About Maintaining the Subsidized Utility Policy

Nearly half of Hungarians (48%) do not agree with reducing subsidies for utility bills, and another 14% “somewhat disagree” with it, according to poll results by the Publicus Institute published in Népszava on Wednesday.

25% of respondents agree with the government’s new policy of subsidizing the price of gas and electricity only up to the level of average household consumption, and a further 10% “somewhat agree.”

68% felt that ruling party Fidesz broke its election promise to maintain the subsidized utility policy, and even 20% of Fidesz supporters agreed with this.

The vast majority of respondents expect their consumption to exceed the level that will be subsidized: 61% expect to pay higher gas bills, while 81% expect higher electricity bills. 47% of them expect to have difficulties paying their bills.

On the issue of inflation, respondents named the increase in food prices (60%) and higher utility costs (57%) as the most common problems that they believed would “very seriously affect” them over the next year, the Publicus data found. [Telex]

Changes to KATA Law Put Home Care and Hospice Care at Risk

Specialist nurses continue to be underpaid, and 77% of them use the recently-overhauled KATA simplified tax system, according to a survey conducted by a nursing interest association and reported on by If nurses lose this option and leave the profession, it could cause serious problems with providing care in Hungary.

The recent wage raises for health care workers left out specialist nurses, and their already low remuneration has not been increased since 2017. Moreover, starting in September KATA won’t be a viable option for many of them either, as they won’t be able to bill companies after the changes to the popular tax scheme kick in. As it is, home care is a barely sustainable profession, says the association.

There may be serious problems if nurses have to resign, stated Miklós Lukács, President of the Hungarian Hospice-Palliative Association. It will cause widescale human resource and capacity problems as well as difficulties providing care, which the home care sector is already struggling with.

Nearly 70% of doctors in Budapest are affected by the KATA changes, according to the Hungarian Medical Chamber, and half of them feel that their jobs are in danger. The Chamber believes that if the KATA law stays as it is, some types of health care services may be threatened. [444]

Slovak Foreign Minister Concerned Over Hungary’s Behavior

At a press conference in Bratislava, Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok expressed his concern over repeated comments by Hungarian representatives on joint EU sanctions against Russia, reports Bloomberg.

“I understand Hungary’s comments less and less, and we are not the only ones,” Korčok said, rejecting certain “claims that Slovakia supports Ukraine just to get in good favor with Brussels.”

“The opposite is true,” claimed Ivan Korčok. “I feel that Budapest wants to exploit every opportunity to oppose joint EU decisions.”

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó was the only “no” vote on a plan by the EU to conserve energy, as the ministers of every other EU Member State supported the idea of consuming less natural gas. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated that through the plan, Brussels had taken another step in the direction of a “war economy.”

Orbán also said at the Tusványos gathering that sanctions were not having an effect on Moscow, and he doubted that Ukraine would be able to defeat the Russian army in the conflict. [444]

Longtime Orbán Advisor Quits Over “Openly Racist” Tusványos Speech

One of Viktor Orbán’s longest-serving advisors, Zsuzsa Hegedüs, has resigned from her position as the Prime Minister’s representative for social mobility over his recent speech at the Tusványos event. The sociologist forwarded the letter she wrote to Viktor Orbán on Tuesday morning to‘s editorial office. As she wrote to the Prime Minister, using the familiar form of Hungarian:

I am sincerely sorry that I have to end our relationship due to the shameful position you have taken, which, although it has become more and more difficult for me since your turn towards illiberalism, still appeared sustainable in the short term. However, after such a speech, which contradicts all my fundamental values, I have been left with no other choice: despite the fact that you have never restricted the complete freedom you gave me in your original request, I now have to break up with you in public because of what was said at Băile Tușnad.

Viktor Orbán’s comments at Băile Tușnad, Romania, at the Bálványos Summer Free University and Student Camp (informally known as Tusványos), has provoked strong negative reactions. The Hungarian Prime Minister said that “we are not of mixed race in the Carpathian basin, but a mixture of the peoples living in our own European home… We are willing to mix with each other, but we don’t want to become a mixed race.”

Along with Hungary’s opposition parties, the statement was condemned by András Heisler, President of leading Jewish organization Mazsihisz, as well as by Hungary’s head rabbi, Róbert Frölich.

Hegedüs did not hold back her criticism of the Prime Minister’s words either. In her letter, she claims that Orbán’s “openly racist speech in Tusványos, which even Goebbels would have liked, went beyond the limit of acceptability.” [HVG]

Only Hungary Voted Against EU Plan to Reduce Gas Consumption

With the exception of Hungary’s Péter Szijjártó, the energy ministers of EU Member States unanimously approved the European Commission’s emergency plan to reduce gas consumption by 15%, reports Die Welt.

The emergency plan aims to ease Russia’s dependence on gas and make preparations if the Kremlin decides to stop exporting to the European Union. Sven Giegold, the German State Secretary for Economic Affairs, tweeted that the emegency plan was adopted by a huge majority, with only Hungary opposing it.

The European Commission came up with the plan on July 20, asking the 27 member countries in the EU to reduce their consumption for the eight months between August 2022 and March 2023 compared to their average consumption over the last five years. Compliance will be on a voluntary basis for now, but could become mandatory if the situation becomes dire. [Népszava]

Gov’t English-Language Summary of Orbán Speech Omits Mention of “Mixed Races”

“OOPS! What a surprise that in the English summary of the Fidesz Prime Minister’s speech in Tusványos, only the parts that could cause the most controversy and resentment in Europe and internationally were omitted,” posted Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi on social media on Sunday.

Ujhelyi wrote that Tamás Deutsch, as the head of the Fidesz delegation in the European Parliament, circulated a letter to all Members of the European Parliament and their assistants that included a link to a written summary of the Prime Minister’s speech in Tusványos, which has provoked strong negative reactions from both Ukrainian and Romanian officials.

However, in the summary written by Zoltán Kovács, one looked in vain for sentences that have caused legitimate and actual outrage, such as those on ‘mixed-race’ Europeans and ‘non-mixed-race’ Hungarians, or about Germans with serious ‘know-how’ in reducing their gas consumption, as these parts were left out, as was the part that Hungary will be a net contributor to the European Union by 2030, and then ‘we’ll be calling the shots.’ According to the summary that was officially distributed and recommended for reading, it’s as if these statements had never been made.

-the opposition MEP wrote. [Magyar Hang]

Orbán Speech Facing Blowback from Romanian Media and Politicians

“Viktor Orbán made racist statements in Tusványos,” read the chyron on Romanian television news channel Digi 24 about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at the Tusványos summer gathering in Băile Tușnad, Romania, where the Prime Minister made the statement that “we in the Carpathian Basin are not mixed race,” reports Transtelex.

“We (Hungarians) are not a mixed race… and we don’t want to become a mixed race,” Orbán said on Saturday. He added that countries where Europeans and non-Europeans mix “are no longer nations.”

Orbán has been making similar statements for years, but these comments were clearly formulated in extreme terms, Digi 24 told Romanian viewers. The news station also informed them that it was in Tusványos in 2014 when Viktor Orbán first said that he wanted to construct an “illiberal democracy” in Hungary.

Transtelex‘s summary notes that Romanian political parties and various political actors in the country have protested against the content of the speech delivered at Tusványos, the informal name for the “Bálványos Summer Free University and Student Camp” held every year in the Transylvanian region of Romania.

In addition to the social democrats and liberals, Romanian MEP Alin Mituță reacted angrily to Orbán’s comments. “Speaking about racial or ethnic ‘purity,’ especially in such a mixed region as Central and Eastern Europe, is purely delusional and dangerous. And so is Mr. Orbán,” the European representative wrote on Twitter.

Romania’s foreign minister was also outraged by the Hungarian Prime Minister’s speech, saying that such talk about “races” was unacceptable. [Magyar Hang]

Fewer Hungarians Applying to Teaching Field, Prompting Worries of Teacher Shortage

Hungary’s colleges and universities posted their admittance numbers for the fall, and the low number of students admitted for teacher training may pose problems in the future, writes Népszava.

The news outlet looked at statistics published by, and reports that 73,805 applicants were admitted to higher education this year, which is 2,000 less than last year. In both 2010 and 2011, the number of admitted students was close to 100,000, representing a decline on average of 20,000-25,000 over the past ten years.

The Hungarian daily writes that one of the most critical areas is teacher training. Only 6,449 applicants were accepted out of around 12,000 this year, which is among the worst results for this field in recent years.

Last year, 7,327 students started teacher training programs, which professional organizations and interest groups even then considered extremely low. Four or five years ago, around 10,000-11,000 were accepted to teaching programs out of 17,000-18,000 applicants.

Union Leader: Admission Results are “Disastrous” for Teaching Field

Gábor Gosztonyi, vice-president of the Teachers’ Union (PSZ), called the admission results in teacher training “disastrous.”

Gosztonyi said that with such low numbers of students entering teacher training programs, Hungary will not be able to replace its retiring teachers, even if all of the new students get their degrees. Of course, many students end up dropping out and not graduating, and others who do graduate find work in other fields and do not work in the teaching profession.

“If the government does not take action, we may soon reach the point in some schools where public workers will be brought in just to do childcare,” said Gosztonyi. [Telex]