Hungarian Eurocrat vs British Prime Minister

The Hungarian EU European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor caused quite an uproar in British political circles with his attack on  Britain’s plans to curb benefits for migrants.   Andor, nominated by the previous Socialist-Liberal government,  was dubbed “the most  left-wing commissioner”, yet a British Labour MP called him “a fascist party member” and he said  Andor “called for the expulsion of Hungarian gypsies from a country where paramilitary groups have been attacking Roma in their villages and where hundreds of Hungarian Jews have fled to Vienna because of fears for their safety”.   Nice friendly fire indeed… 🙂  Yeah, the Brits have good reasons to fear an influx of unskilled Romanian and Bulgarian Gypsies from January. In case they didn’t know, Hungarian Gypsies have had the opportunity to move to Britain since 2004.  So what’s the leftist answer to this not quite politically correct issue? To accuse Hungary, governed by a centre-of-right government, of fascism, racism and what have you, of course!

Then the right-wing tabloid Daily Mail published a brutally anti-Hungarian article, full of similarly vicious lies, titled “Hungary is anti-semitic and vile to the Roma. Don’t dare lecture us, Mr Commissioner”.   British Prime Minister Cameron called EC Chairman Barroso to make a complaint about Andor and he also tweeted his anger:

Cameron tweet

Well, as someone from Central Europe, a right-winger who is proud to be a Hungarian nationalist and  who worked for a year in Italy after Hungary’s joining the EU in 2004 and then who spent five  great years in the UK as a higher-rate taxpayer and who is now back in Hungary to do the same job for a lot less money,  I must say  I support the right of countries, including Britain’s, to filter  benefit fraudsters,  beggars, criminals and similar anti-social elements out from those who want to live there.   I also support restricting entry to the labour market  of a country if the chosen representatives of the country think so.
In other words I support British PM Cameron as opposed to  Hungarian Eurocrat László Andor.  At the same time I strongly reject the  nasty anti-Hungarian garbage the Daily Mail or that British Labour MP, and probably some more Brits, have been coming up with  in this spat.  Shame on them.

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Big bank bets on economic recovery

When you look at Hungary from a macro standpoint, Hungary is doing OK… Hungary and central and east Europe as a whole are going to outperform the rest of Europe in the next one-and-a-half to two years… there is a lot of infrastructure investments and competitiveness is higher than in western Europe, and this will continue.

General manager Laurent Poiron said after the big French bank BNP Paribas  became  the first foreign lender to sell Forint-nominated bonds.

Should Olli Rehn really resign?

The President of the Hungarian National Bank, György Matolcsy has called on  EU Economics and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn to resign because, according to Mr. Matolcsy,  Mr. Rehn has personal responsibility for the failed crisis management in the European Union.
Mr. Matolcsy used to be the Minister of Economy in the Orban government before he was appointed HNB president and the economic policies, which now seem to start bearing fruits for Hungary (see related articles), were mostly his brainchildren, together with the highly successful Lending for Growth program  launched by HNB under his premiership.

Economics EU Commissioner Olli Rehn and his thumb-up (for himself?)

But does Mr. Rehn really have any reason at all to resign?  Isn’t he an established, highly recognized  expert on economy?  To mention only one small thing, Mr. Rehn was capable of predicting the accurate figure of Hungary’s budget deficit in 2012 to an amazing degree of accuracy, merely with a 30 percent difference, last November!  He said it would be 2.5% and then he almost got it exactly right:  EuroStat confirmed this April that Hungary’s budget deficit was 1.9% in 2012.

Historic low base rate again

Historic low base rate again

The Hungarian National Bank cut the base rate to a historic low 3.20% this Tuesday, at a historic low 0.9% year-on-year inflation rate in October.   JP Morgan has revised their forecast and they say 2.4% could be the lowest. They also expect lower inflation than HNB.

English Kitler

English kitler

A Hitler-lookalike from England 🙂

Even lower income tax?

Prime Minister Orbán delivered a speech on a business forum in Tokyo

Prime Minister Orbán delivered a speech on a business forum in Tokyo

Prime Minister Orbán delivered a speech on a Tokyo business forum today.   He told the audience about the new Hungarian 16 percent, flat rate, family-based income tax system which was introduced in 2011.  He said he thinks income tax is a bad thing and ideally he would like to see a “zero percent” income tax.  He expressed his hope  Hungary could have a single digit income tax in a few years.   He added 60 percents of the income tax was, and still is, paid by the top twenty percents of tax payers, so this is not what the change is about.  What changed is that the previous tax regime penalized economic achievements, it demanded too much from those working legally and “it opened up the gate of tax evasion for large crowds of people”.    He emphasized that the new Hungarian tax system aims to tax consumption instead of income.

Time will tell if this would work out and if it would become another step in the “Orbanization of Europe”.

BTW, here is an interview with Mr. Orbán broadcast by the Japanese public service TV where he stressed that Hungary must diversify her export markets and this is also a reason why Japan is considered an important economic partner for Hungary.

No smoking

A common (and a bit stupid) “joke” in Hungary is that “no smoking” means in fact: “do not enter in a dinner jacket”. (Hungarians use “szmoking” to mean “dinner jacket”).  Yeah, Hungarians were liable to ignore even those signs forbidding smoking  explicitly and nobody didn’t really care either, not even the authorities.

Well, I lived in England when the smokefree laws came into force in 2007 there and I remember people grumbling about not being able to smoke inside pubs.  On the other hand, having never smoked in my life, I myself was quite content that tobacco smoke was suddenly pretty much gone wherever I went to.  I’d say people got used to the strict restrictions on smoking quickly enough.  I visited Hungary often  and, to say the least, I wasn’t pleased  when I had to breathe in smokey air in public places in Hungary.  I really wished Hungary would do the very same as the UK regarding smoking in public but I thought it was fat chance.  Then Fidesz won a landslide victory in 2010 and I moved home at the end of 2011. And soon the Orbán-government introduced a  similarly strict, if not stricter, anti-smoking law from the January of 2012 than the British one!  First I was quite sceptical if it would be effective and enforced, I thought it would be watered down in the end and I did expect a quite big outcry. To my astonishment, there wasn’t really much at all!  After a few month transitory period, when I could still see some people were not taking the ban too seriously,  I could see less and less violations. I guess the hefty fines convinced the owners of pubs, cafes and restaurants that they’d better enforce the smokefree laws.  Or maybe just common sense?  Now I cannot remember when I saw someone smoking in a forbidden place in Hungary last time but I don’t think it was this year.  I must say I’m pretty impressed.

So Prime Minister Orbán, or in fact Hungary and Hungarians for the above reasons, as he himself emphasized, well deserved this anti-smoking WHO award:

Ah,  according to a recent survey,  while 28 percent of the adult population used to smoke on a daily basis in 2012, this ratio  dropped to 19 percent in 2013.  Not bad, eh?

Viktor in Japan

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, delivering a speech today in Kaposvár: “Hungary needs more births than deaths”

Viktor has travelled to Japan this evening.  He’s going to hold a lecture at the (private) Josai University with the title “Hungary and Europe in a changing world”.   It sounds like the lecture will have a geopolitical aspect, something like what Stratfor praised him for when he delivered this lecture in London recently.

Besides he’s going to open a Hungarian culture and tourism centre in Tokyo, he’ll deliver a speech at an event of the Hungarian-Japanese Business Forum, he’s going to meet Japanese businessmen  and he’s going to have official talks with Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.

What surprises me is that he is also going to meet  Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. I thought the Japanese Emperor usually meets only other heads of states…

Related articles

More signs of economic recovery

OECD growth forecast increased, too

Following most economic analysts and the European Commission, the OECD has raised its outlook for Hungarian growth to 1.2% this year and 2.0% next from a previous 0.5% and 1.3%.

The investors seem to be more optimistic, too: Today the average yield on Hungary’s  three month T-bill dropped to all-time low below 3%  and yesterday Hungary issued USD-nominated bonds, worth of 2 billion US dollars, with a fivefold (!) bid-to-cover ratio and a 325 basis point spread over the US 10-year bonds (which is 20 basis points lower than what was achieved in the February issuance) Let’s note that this is the reaction of the markets despite that all three big  credit rating agencies keep Hungary’s rating in the “junk” category…

And there’s more:

Both MSZP spin-offs measured below threshold

Both MSZP spin-offs measured below threshold

Smashing news! 😀 Neither ex-Socialist PM Bajnai’s party or ex-Socialist PM Gyurcsány’s party would make it into the Hungarian Parliament according to the latest poll data by left wing pollster Szonda Ipsos.

  • Ambition (politicsinhungary.wordpress.com)

 

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