PM: ‘I made the decision before receiving the letter’

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán decided to warn ministries to withdraw funds from brokerages “well before” receiving Quaestor CEO Csaba Tarsoly’s letter, which contained the same information the brokerage reported earlier to Hungary’s Economy Ministry, the prime minister said today in his fortnightly interview with state-owned Kossuth radio.

Lázár: EC could approve Paks fuel supply agreement in two weeks

Cabinet chief János Lázár said yesterday that the European Commission could clear an agreement between Hungary and Russia on fuel supply for the upgrade of the Paks nuclear power plant within two weeks. 

Police arrest three in Quaestor case; Lázár defends Orbán

Three men were arrested late Thursday afternoon in connection with the Quaestor brokerage case, according to the National Police Headquarters’ website, and officials continued to deny insider knowledge in the case. 

New Fidesz-friendly media outlets foreseen

According to reports, a new right-wing media empire is being put together to replace media outlets that have become less government-friendly since the split between Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and media oligarch Lajos Simicska. One report suggests that Fidesz associate Árpád Habony (pictured) will run these outlets.

EC: Paks talks must continue

Hungary was in talks with the European Unionʼs Euratom Supply Agency yesterday about plans to provide fuel to the Paks nuclear power plant after its pending upgrade according to an EC spokeserson, but she would not confirm cabinet chief János Lázárʼs assertion that an agreement was reached.

Ministry publishes 2011 survey on Sunday closures

Hungary’s National Economy Ministry today published the results of a survey it commissioned in 2011 to explore how Hungarians felt about keeping shops closed on Sundays. The ministry, however, dismissed speculation that an impact study had been made regarding restrictions on Sunday Business hours, Hungarian news agency MTI reported today.

NAV chief refuses to attend hearing

The head of Hungaryʼs National Tax and Customs Authority (NAV), Ildikó Vida, who admitted earlier that she was banned from entering the United States, today declined via a letter to attend a hearing of Parliamentʼs budget committee, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.

Lázár: Fidesz could lose a referendum on Sunday closures

If a referendum is held on the recently approved Sunday closure legislation, which restricts retailers from opening on Sundays, the bill will be voted against, Cabinet Chief János Lázár allegedly said at a private meeting this weekend, according to Hungarian online daily index.hu which reposted information published by Népszava.

Varga discusses economic ties with U.S. ambassador

Hungarian economy minister Mihály Varga discussed ways to expand bilateral economic relations with United States Ambassador to Hungary Colleen Bell at an official meeting at Vargaʼs office on Friday, the ministry said in a statement, according to Hungarian news agency MTI. 

Pro-Fidesz group plans march before by-election

Pro-Fidesz non-governmental organization Civil Összefogás Fórum (CÖF) is inviting citizens from all over Hungary to join the Békemenet (“March for Peace”) in Sümeg, north of Lake Balaton in Hungary today to support Fidesz in by-elections soon to be held in the Tapolca region. 

Ministry hosts conference on regional energy security

Hungaryʼs Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade hosted the “Energy Security of Central and South Eastern Europe" conference in Budapest today, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

HVG: PM had tie to communist-era security

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had a formal “social connection” to the Interior Ministryʼs state security department during his compulsory service with the communist-era Hungarian Army, from October 20, 1981 until his discharge in 1982, according to documents published today by Hungarian weekly HVG. This connection implies he could have been used as an informant.

MNB sues Liberal Party politician, charging false statements

The National Bank of Hungary (MNB) yesterday said it is suing Zoltán Bodnár (pictured) of the opposition Hungarian Liberal Party on charges that he made false statements regarding the activities of the central bank. 

Anti-government blockade closes Lánchíd

Anti-government demonstrators closed the Lánchíd (Chain Bridge) in the heart of Budapest with 50 cars this evening, Hungarian online daily index.hu reported.

Fidelitas launches ‘Provocateur Observerʼ group

The youth association of Hungary’s ruling party Fidesz, Fidelitas, has launched a new team called “Provocateur Observer” in order to compile lists of all those “leftist provocateurs” who try to “ruin others’ events”, Hungarian online daily origo.hu reported.

Vote on 2016 budget bill moved to earlier date

The Hungarian government is scheduled to submit next year’s budget to Parliament by the end of April and the bill could be voted on by the end of the spring session, the National Economy Ministry confirmed late yesterday, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.

Orbán meets Bell officially

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán late yesterday officially met U.S. Ambassador for Hungary Colleen Bell (pictured) two months after her arrival, Hungarian online daily index.hu reported. 

FT backs Paks story as govʼt threatens suit

Despite the governmentʼs threat of a lawsuit today, the Financial Times is not going to correct its report from Thursday that the European Commission would block the plan for supplying fuel to the upgraded Paks nuclear power plant if Hungary does not allow for suppliers besides Russia. "We absolutely stand behind the story," said FT correspondent Andrew Byrne.

IPSOS: Fidesz stagnates, Jobbik prospers

The popularity of Hungary’s ruling party Fidesz is stagnating, while the popularity of Hungarian right-wing radicals Jobbik is on the rise, Ipsos Media, Advertisement, Market and Opinion Research Institute said today in a survey, citing figures recorded this month.

Report: Government closes another Sunday closure loophole

The Hungarian parliament voted today to extend restrictions on Sunday opening hours to retailers which operate at gas stations but do not sell vehicle gas, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

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Licensing intra-group financing activity

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