Punishing times for Hungary’s banks

The deadline is fast approaching when Hungary-based banks must fork out a considerable sum after penalized by the regulating MNB. Worse than the penalty itself, though, executives at banks based in the country remain worried about what they see as a whim-based approach...

OTP expands in Croatia; CEO promises stability

OTP Bank produced a pair of bits of news yesterday: Subsidiary OTP Banka Hrvatska completing an acquisition in Croatia, while in an extensive interview with Bloomberg, CEO Sándor Csányi reassured that his bank could survive even a worst-case scenario in Ukraine…

EC launches “plaza ban” infringement procedure

The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against Hungary concerning a ban on the construction of large-scale shopping centers and hypermarkets. Ruling party Fidesz responded by vowing to defend the law...

TI Hungary: Poor transparency among state cos.

Of 66 Hungarian state companies whose websites were assessed by Transparency International Hungary, only two received 90 points of 100 on a scale devised by the watchdog to measure public-sector enterprises’ fulfillment of the legal obligation to make company data public...

SEE Geothermal Conference in Vecsés next week

The local government of Budapest’s district XVIII has announced the “GeoSEE European Conference,” a meeting of geothermal energy specialists from Hungary and throughout the South Eastern Europe region, to be held in Vecsés next week...

BUSINESS

Hernádi urges speedy resolution of MOL-Croatia clash

MOL chairman/CEO Zsolt Hernádi urged a quick solution to issues over the fate of its stake in Croatia-based peer INA after today’s shareholders’ meeting, reckoning that delaying the decision has somehow cost MOL “millions of dollars per day...

BUSINESS

CEO: MOL could invest $1 billion in acquisitions

After paying out a HUF 60 billion dividend to shareholders at MOL’s annual general meeting today, CEO József Molnár reassured that his company remains committed to further such payouts in future -- despite up to $1 billion in acquisitions possible...

ECONOMY

KSH confirms retail sales jump, pace for record year

The Central Statistics Office (KSH) confirmed another month of outstanding growth for retail sales in Hungary, specifically a 6.7% y.o.y. increase for February, the fourth-largest increase among the EU-28. The pace is set for a record year in Hungarian retail, depending on who's supplying the data...

ECONOMY

Pleschinger: Further base rate cuts increase risks

Further base rate cuts by the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) would further increase risks, MNB Monetary Council external member Gyula Pleschinger said in an interview with the financial website napi.hu yesterday...

BUSINESS

After Donetsk closure, Wizz Air opens new Riga base

Wizz Air will open a base in Riga on June 19, with a new Airbus-320 aircraft and will introduce flights from the Latvian capital to Barcelona, Sheffield, Dortmund and Paris, four new destinations offered by the airline from Riga...

ECONOMY

MNB executive directors: International reserves may be lowered “with due caution”

Hungary’s reserves could be lowered with due caution as they exceed reference levels watched by investors and short-term external debt is trending downward, National Bank of Hungary (MNB) executive directors Márton Nagy and Dániel Palotai wrote in an article published yesterday...

ECONOMY

K&H CEO: Predictable economic policy expected

K&H Bank management expects Hungary’s new government to follow a stable, predictable economic policy, remaining hopeful that tax rates will be reviewed as the country enters a phase of economic growth, CEO Hendrik Scheerlinck said in an interview with MTI yesterday...

BUSINESS

Kaspersky Lab: 40% of Eastern Europe infected with malware

Moscow-based online security specialists Kaspersky Lab kicked off its annual Security Analyst Summit in Budapest today. Among the hair-raising facts dropped are Kasperskys assessment that 30% of Eastern European sites affected with malware and 315,000 newly infected files found daily...

POLITICS

Pancho Arena inaugurated in Felcsút

Pancho Arena, that football stadium which continues to gather intermittent international media attention as a symbol of Minister Viktor Orbán’s dictatorial power, was inaugurated in the PM’s hometown of Felcsút yesterday...

BUSINESS

Mushashi Hungary to supply Audi, Jaguar, Honda from 2015

Musashi Hungary, the Hungarian manufacturing unit of Japan-based vehicle spare parts maker Musashi, will supply Audi, Jaguar and Honda models under three recently signed contracts, managing director András Nagy announced today...

BUDAPEST

Budapest bike-sharing system: Hype on two wheels?

The winds of change have finally reached the Hungarian capital. The scale of Budapest’s new bike-sharing service should be enough to help spread environmental awareness, and though it won’t be cheap, expansion and price reduction could well be seen in time...

POLITICS

Emmis to appeal ICSID decision on Sláger Rádió – if possible

In response to an ICSID decision against now-defunct Sláger Rádiólast week, station owner Emmis Communications yesterday stated that the company “will explore other venues for appeal of the unlawful taking of the station” by the government – if “any other viable forums exist,” that is.

OPINION

America’s Grim Legacy in Iraq

The Iraq War is now 11 years old and still tearing up the country, but no longer with the assistance of U.S. troops. Between 500,000 and 700,000 people died from 2003 to 2011. The monthly civilian toll now is as high as it’s been since 2008...

BUDAPEST

Budapest court requests annulment of savings coop act

The Budapest Municipal Court will request that the Constitutional Court annul the act on the integration of savings cooperatives after finding the act to be unconstitutional and in violation of rights to ownership on several points...

ECONOMY

Average earnings up 1.3% y.o.y. through February

In a round of figures released by the Central Statistics Office (KSH), in the national economy, average earnings increased by 1.3% year-on-year in the January-February 2014 period. KSH reported full-time employees’ average gross nominal earnings at HUF 226,600...

POLITICS

ICSID rules in favor of government v. Sláger Rádió

The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on Wednesday ruled in favor of the state of Hungary in a dispute with radio station Sláger Rádió regarding the legal authority of a 2009 decision not to renew the station’s frequency. 

POLITICS

MEKH reassures on national natural gas supply

In an apparent attempt to mollify concerns regarding the country’s natural gas supply, the Hungarian Energy Regulatory Office released a statement yesterday which promised that, under average weather conditions, imports from Western nations can meet demand for now...

BUSINESS

Initiative encourages substantive sustainability in Hungary

The concept of sustainability is undergoing a substantial change that directs efforts towards easier-to-monitor schemes. A major initiative from the Business Council for Sustainable Development in Hungary is attracting companies to sign up *and* to deliver real results...

POLITICS

Constitutional Court rejects two energy service provider complaints

The Constitutional Court has shot down two complaints from Hungary-based utility providers in an attempt by the latter to argue infringement of legal rights with regard to energy-sector taxation and certain extraordinary fees, among other issues…

BUSINESS

OTP Bank ceases operations in Crimea region

OTP Bank officials have notified local media that operations in the Crimea region of Ukraine will be ceased, effective tomorrow, due to legal uncertainty resulting from the political situation in the region...

expert opinion

America’s Grim Legacy in Iraq

US’ Grim Legacy in Iraq

John Tirman
Executive director, MIT Center for International Studies

“It happens in all of America’s wars: Leaving a legacy of the uncaring bully…”

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