The European Union has had enough: No money for a 110 billion project already underway

Not only does Quaestor’s collapse and the government’s involvement in this scandal weigh heavily on the third Orbán government. Viktor Orbán just heard officially that the European Union is refusing to finance a 30 km section of a new Hungarian superhighway, the M4, that would be 230 km long and would lead all the way to the Romanian border just north of Oradea/Nagyvárad. This is a first. And this time there is no possibility of any further negotiations. The project must either be abandoned or be built from purely Hungarian sources. Trying to resubmit the same project based on another, lower bid seems pretty hopeless since the European Union considers the whole project a “luxury item.”

I would be hard pressed to recall all the dates that were mentioned in the press about the imminent beginning of work on the project. It was in 2003 that civil engineers and experts on transportation came up with a 15- and a 30-year plan which included two much-needed superhighways, M8 and M4, that would transverse the country from the Austrian border to Romania. The point was to avoid Budapest, which has for far too long been the epicenter of the Hungarian transportation system. By 2005 it looked as if both M8 and M4 would be built.

In December 2012 Index reported that work on the planned 30 km section of M4 between Abony and Fegyvernek would begin in 2013. At that time people familiar with the price structure of Hungarian highways predicted that it would cost “tens of billions of forints,” but by the end of 2014, when all the bids were in, the cost was 110 billion or almost 4 billion per kilometer. That is four times the price of similar road construction in Western Europe where wages are considerably higher. Such a blatantly overpriced project was too much for the European Union. Moreover, they suspected price fixing. But what is really devastating for the Hungarian government is that the EU didn’t just stop this particular section of M4 but refused to finance the entire 230 km of M4 during the 2014-20 budget period.

An unfulfilled dream: "M4's construction began at Abony / szolnoknaplo.hu

An unfulfilled dream: “M4’s construction began at Abony” / szolnoknaplo.hu

The European Union’s decision about the Abony-Fegyvernek section of M4 couldn’t have come as a surprise to the government. Although by January 2014 all necessary permits were obtained and therefore work could begin, the green light from Brussels wasn’t forthcoming. In December 444.hu learned that in general there are problems with the Hungarian projects waiting for approval in Brussels. “Among other reasons, the European Commission did not pay because the officials consider the prices submitted too high.”

Benedek Jávor (PM MEP) turned to OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office) to initiate an investigation into the M4 highway project. He wanted to know whether there were any signs of corruption, specifically any possibility of kickbacks to parties by the five firms involved in the construction of the project. Colas USA and the Austrian Swietelsky were to build 13.4 km for 46.76 billion forints. Lajos Simicska’s Közgép together with another Hungarian company, Híd, was entrusted with a short 2.4 km section, but it had three bridges, including a new 756 meter-long bridge across the Tisza River. For this work they signed a contract for 32.5 billion. For the rest Strabag International was to receive 31.5 billion.

The Hungarian government was so eager to launch the project that in January they began construction, which means that about 30% of the project has already started. It is not at all clear what the government will do in light of the EU decision. After all, it is not the fault of the companies involved that the Hungarians decided to begin construction without the final okay of Brussels. If, however, price fixing can be proven, Nándor Csepreghy, assistant undersecretary in charge of communication on matters related to the European Union, said, the construction companies will be responsible to the Hungarian taxpayers for the loss of 110 billion forints.

Although the Hungarian government now echoes the EU and says that the construction costs are too high, back in 2013 when Benedek Jávor first began his investigation of the case neither Mrs. László Németh, then minister of national development, nor János Lázár found anything wrong with the winning bids. In fact, both insisted that they “were not irrationally high.” But now, suddenly they’re talking about price fixing. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Benedek Jávor’s suspicions about possible kickbacks to individuals and perhaps also to Fidesz’s coffers are well founded.

As far as I know, up to this point it was only Simicska’s Közgép that reacted to Csepreghy’s threat of passing the lost EU money on to the companies involved. Közgép published a statement in which they explained that it was Közgép that offered the lowest price in a proper bidding process and that their job was not simple road building but the construction of three bridges. The new Tisza bridge will require 8,500 tons of steel. In addition, two smaller bridges, on either side of the Tisza, must be built over wetlands. Közgép called attention to the fact that the January issue of the Official Gazette announced that the government would finance from domestic sources a road that “connects M5 with M4.”

Indeed, János Lázár only recently reiterated the “government’s long-standing desire to have at least a four-lane highway between M5 and Szolnok.” Apparently, it is for political reasons that the Orbán government wants to make this road a priority. It was in Szolnok last September that Viktor Orbán announced his ambitious plan for building four-lane highways that would connect each county seat to the larger superhighway system of the country. Moreover, he planned this expansion of the roads not from EU money but from domestic resources. Such a road would “bring spectacular economic development to the city,” said Ildikó Bene, a Fidesz member of parliament. Budapest could be reached from Szolnok in less than an hour, she promised.

As for the charge of cartel activities and price fixing, I’m not sure that this is the real reason for the extraordinarily high prices asked for the job. Colas-Swietelsky bid 3.49 billion/km and Strabag 2 billion/km. Közgép is a different story because their work consists mostly of building bridges. I’m almost sure, however, that officials demanded kickbacks. A conversation between Nándor Csepreghy and Egon Rónay of ATV on Friday morning supports this supposition. When Csepreghy went on and on about the cartel activities of the firms involved, Rónay asked him why Hungary had to wait for the European Union to suggest that price fixing might be behind the high prices. Why didn’t they investigate these suspiciously high prices themselves? Csepreghy refused to answer. He tried every which way to bypass the question until Rónay said, “Well, you just refuse to answer my question.” Probably a wise decision.

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Kmetty Geza
Guest

2012 Agusztusan a Nemzeti Fejlesztesi Ugynokseg (NFU) keresere adtam interjukat es eloadasokat az Amerikaban kotelezo Ertekelemzes hasznalatarol nagy beruhazasoknal, foleg utepiteseknel. Csepreghy volt az NFU kepviseloje a HirTV interjun. Az eloadast kovetoen az NFU-t bezartak es az Amerikai modszert nem tettek kotelezove,. Ugy latszik erre nem volt etvagya a felsobb hatosagoknak. Erdemes atnezni az alabbiakat.

Kmetty Geza, PE, CVS
Cerified Value Specialist
Civil Engineer

http://mno.hu/rajatszas/ertekelemzes-1102081
8. hvg.hu
2012.08.30
http://hvg.hu/gazdasag/20120830_Uj_szempontok_alapjan_dontene_az_allam_a_

Új szempontok alapján döntene az állam a beruházásokról
Egy Magyarországon eddig kevéssé alkalmazott módszert, az értékelemzést vizsgálja a Nemzeti Fejlesztési Ügynökség (NFÜ); az eljárás lényege, hogy olyan beruházási koncepciókat támogasson az állam, amellyel kapcsolatban a kivitelezők akkor is pozitívan döntenének, ha azt saját forrásaikból végeznék el – írja a csütörtöki Napi Gazdaság.

A gazdasági napilapnak Csepreghy Nándor, az NFÜ kommunikációs vezetője elmondta, hogy az értékelemzés egy projekt funkcionális értékeit megtartva vagy akár javítva a lehető leghatékonyabb forrásfelhasználást segíti elő, a beruházási költségeken kívül minden előre kalkulálható többletköltséget és esetleges megtakarítást figyelembe vesz.
A módszert a nagy infrastrukturális fejlesztéseknél tenné kötelezővé Magyarország az amerikai gyakorlat alapján a 2014-2020-as uniós ciklusban, bár erről egyelőre nem született döntés. Az NFÜ és a fejlesztési tárca amerikai szakértőket kért fel a tapasztalatok bemutatására. Az Egyesült Államokban ugyanis egymillió dolláros értékhatártól kötelező az ilyen elemzések elvégzése.

exTor
Guest

With all due respect, Géza, for your effort to communicate with the Hungarian Spectrum readership, this attempt may have been lost on some (perhaps even most) of those who attempted to grasp its message.

The common currency of this group is English and its common interest is Hungary, specifically its politics. The ability of the HS readership to understand Hungarian may range from zero to excellent. I, for example, have a middling capacity to understand and my Magyar acumen, such as it may be, depends on the level of technical language I engage.

Interestingly, your first paragraph lacked the requisite diacritics that Hungarian employs. You may want to revisit your post, Géza, but in English, the language of Hungarian Spectrum. Thanx.

[Nem volt helyes ide tenni fel a posztodat. Köszi.]

Kmetty Geza
Guest

Sorry, but the interview was in Hungarian. I withdraw my post..

exTor
Guest

Let’s just say that my acquisition of Hungarian is a work-in-progress, Géza. I (a Brit-born Canadian) now live in Csepel and it will be a while before my Magyar capability even remotely approaches my English.

Your use of the original Hungarian, which does lend credibility to your point, would work (as Webber suggested) if you were to summarize each paragraph sequentially. Or, if you feel up to it, translate each.

The bottom line is that posting only in Hungarian on an English-language forum (eg: Hungarian Spectrum) is counterproductive and may be construed (by some) as elitist, because such a posting effectively excludes many of the forum’s readership.

Kmetty Geza
Guest

Thanks! Point well taken. I just don’t have the time for a lengthy translation, but I will try to come up with a short outline. Otherwise, the question came up that what I do and what Value Analysis is? Here are some points on it:
Value Engineering/Value Analysis is: • An Organized review to improve value by using multi-disciplined teams of specialists knowing various aspects of the problem being studied.
• A function oriented approach to identify the essential functions of the system, product, or service being studied, and the cost associated with those functions.
• Creative thinking uses recognized techniques to explore alternative ways of performing the functions at a lower cost, or to otherwise improve the design.
This is required by law in the US for federal expenditures over $25M, on Public Works projects, such as the Hungarian M4 Project. The Hungarian agency that asked me to make presentations on the method was disbanded shortly after my interviews.

exTor
Guest

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_engineering

We are now in offtopic territory. I had a looksee at the above-linking Wikipedia article on Value Engineering (VE), another term for Value Analysis. I had not heard of either specific term before, though the concept is familiar enough. I learned something about VE from it. I wonder what you think about that Wikipedia article, Géza?

The way I see it, Value Engineering is a tool that companies (mostly?) use to maximize their profits, with other considerations secondary.

Kmetty Geza
Guest
@exTor VE is a proven, successful methodology for over 50 years in the Manufacturing and in the Construction Industry all over the world because the methodology use independent multi-disciplined teams to break down a project/product/process into its basic functions and then use creativity to find different ways to perform these functions and improving value by optimizing the relationship of Performance/Cost or Function/Cost. The process is based on the following steps we use in every VE Review:: The VE/VA Process: • to identify the major elements of a project, • to analyze the functions these project elements perform, • to use brainstorming to develop several design alternatives to perform those functions, • to evaluate the alternatives to insure they do not degrade the project, • to assign costs (including life-cycle cost) to each of the most promising alternatives, and • to develop the promising alternatives into acceptable recommendations. Value Engineering teams provide management with as many recommendations as practicable. The recommendations are then evaluated by staff whose specialty areas are impacted by the proposed recommendation. Management then decides, based on all available information, whether or not to approve the recommendations. This is a well known methodology in the Hungarian academic and… Read more »
exTor
Guest

Köszönöm a válaszodat Géza.

Wondercat
Guest

Thanks for posting. Your contribution taught me something. The content matters more than does the language.

Kmetty Geza
Guest

Wont hurt you to learn the Hungarian language. Skip my comments in the future…please.

Webber
Guest

This was the method (below) that was called PPP (public-private partnership) by the Gyurcsány and Bajnai cabinets, who borrowed the term from Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and made it uniquely Hungarian. It is, of course, simply bla-bla, or rather a way to hide government support. The only difference now is that the current government, which will use the same method, is not willing to use the term PPP.
It is simply nonsense because NO private company will dump its own money into a public project without a profit guaranteed in the end. The “contribution” companies will make will be built into the price they charge.
“Az eljárás lényege, hogy olyan beruházási koncepciókat támogasson az állam, amellyel kapcsolatban a kivitelezők akkor is pozitívan döntenének, ha azt saját forrásaikból végeznék el.”

wasser
Guest

Kickbacks are standard. Nobody wants to investigate anything, it’s just too risky. So nobody will.

Of course such a suspicion from the EU would easily mean a probable cause and bid rigging in a public procurement deal is a serious criminal offense, Peter Polt will prevent any criminal matter and the Competition Office won’t do anything either.

I think the construction companies will all accept the cancellation, and life will go on. They will win other tenders, it’s better for them to stay silent. And so they will.

petofi
Guest

Huh? How does that work?
If we don’t get the money, we will hold the companies responsible for work that we, the government, authorized them to do?

Ok!!
The minefield of Magyar brainwork…

Hajra Magyarok!! You certainly do it different.

MagyarArany
Guest

The Balogh article is a gem.
Geza Kmetty has provided a valuable contribution.
Geza is such a valuable Hungarian, and also a great naturalized American.
He knows how to analyze big civil engineering projects honestly and professionally.

Kmetty Geza
Guest

Thanks for your comment. Some other readers have objected to my style and language.
I will try not to use Hungarian if I can avoid it in the future. My last post was based on a recording of an interview on Hungarian television..related to the topic of financing Hungarian Highway Project’s with EU Funds. I hoped that there are some Hungarian “linguists” among the HS readers that will appreciate it.

Webber
Guest

I appreciated your post, and think it’s too much work to translate everything, but perhaps next time you could provide a short English summary of content before the Hungarian text?

Albrecht Neumerker
Guest

Géza, I appreciate your comments, because they enlight the details and methods of hungarian ‘national’ corruption.

Kmetty Geza
Guest

@Albrechtsitized
The sad part is, that a large part of Hungarian society is so De-sensitized about what is Corruption any more, that they accept this type of blatant corrupt behavior as “normal”.
It starts with the plumber asking “do you want receipt, or not?” The price with receipt is much more than without….etc. etc. etc. The answer is obvious..and kids see it…and why not cheat in school then?……it goes on and on….wasting all their creativity to look for “kis kapu”-s and how to “Win” without following the moral and legal processes….Sad!

Guest

Sorry for the OT, but I had to comment on this.
Seems that I am also a real Hungarian now – because I as a German also have been asked so often now “számla kell?” – at least this shows that people in the village where I live with my Hungarian wife trust me/us …

PS:
Of course “black work” (we also call it the shadow ecconomy) on this level is common and probably unavoidable in other countries too.
I calculated once that if you have your plumber help you and pay him officially with VAT etc then you have to work six to eight hours as a mechanic to get the net amount of pay to pay him for one hour’s work – the overhead of taxes and social insurance is so high!

googly
Guest
VAT is such a stupid concept, I really wonder why it’s so popular here in Europe. I understand taxing goods for sale (even though it’s regressive), but it makes no sense at all to tax labor, because it’s very difficult to import it, it’s (often) very difficult to prove it happened (which encourages people to avoid income tax, too, since they’re already hiding their work), and it discourages people from engaging legitimate businesses, since they can just find someone willing to do the work off the books (but probably not as well) for much less, with all the attendant lack of regulation, oversight, environmental controls, and inclusion in national statistics. Replace the revenue from taxing labor with a higher tax bracket for the wealthy, and you might be surprised at the jump in revenue, GDP, and employment numbers! It’s probably too late, though, people have already gotten used to this system, so they are less likely to bother becoming legitimate. Couple the VAT abolition with a surge in policing of underground businesses and an amnesty aimed at legitimising the economy, plus an education campaign, and you might start changing the whole society’s attitude about law-breaking. None of this will happen… Read more »
Member

Mr. Kmetty, You should not take offence of readers politely asking for posting or summarizing in English. This simply shows that your points are well taken, and those with limited Hungarian would like to understand more the width and depth of your observations or point of view. Do not forget that contributors to this blog included such distinguished people as Kim Lane Scheppele, Charles Gati, Randolph L. Braham in the past, and we can only hope they read the blog regularly. Your observation worth a lot, and you should not deprive the full readership of your thoughts. Take the request for English version as a form of flattery not as a form of offence.
Thank you!

Webber
Guest
There was, of course, price fixing. Prices are decided ahead of time in Hungary, just as the winners of the tender are decided ahead of time regardless of costs. Since the EU wants to see “competition”, the Hungarian government makes sure several companies “win” tenders for big projects. Apparently this little trick will no longer work for major projects. Közgép’s claim that the section of the road it will build is more difficult to construct and therefore actually is that expensive is laughable. Hungarian papers have shown repeatedly that highways built through the mountains of stone in Croatia are several times more cheap than highways laid down on the soft plains of Hungary. As I’ve said elsewhere, I suspect the government will use this as a way to transfer costs to Közgép through massive fines, in an attempt to bankrupt Simicska who is now, apparently, backing Jobbik (I shed no tears for Simicska). That the tender and high prices were approved by the Hungarian government won’t stop the government from blaming contractors – or rather this one contractor (and possibly all three – to get the government much-needed revenue). Hitting Közgép with fines won’t bother many people, and will certainly… Read more »
LwiiH
Guest
@Geza, most of the Hungarian only postings have been made by local rednecks which haven’t been well received from some strange reason so….. I am always working to improve my Hungarian but it’s not easy. So, I believe that the companies bids were the lowest. However the terms of submitting bids is so convoluted that it’s impossible for many capable companies to submit a bid as they don’t meet the requirements. Many bids contain chicken/egg conditions that won’t allow you to bid unless you’ve recently performed work for the government for similar sums in the recent past. In general government procurement processes are tricky ones under the best of conditions. process is very tricky. We used to pre-vet IT vendors to make sure that we got the right product. Then you had to get that vendor through the procurement whilst getting spammed by low-balled competing bids from companies that have no chance to deliver. Some times the only way to get rid of these trolls is to inject a chicken/egg clause. However, it’s a slippery slope….. With Kozgep winning all of these bids is that they erode the ability of the competition to compete in the future even under fair… Read more »
Webber
Guest

Why do you “believe the companies’ bids were the lowest”? Nothing above suggests that this is the case. Indeed, time and again, the Hungarian press has revealed that the lowest bidder doesn’t win when Közgép or certain other companies are involved. Smart companies don’t even bid when they know that the decision has been made ahead of time.

Member

A friend of ours who is an architect pointed out that the Orban family has a near monopoly of the gravel quarries in Hungary. A point to be considered on any construction project here. No matter what company actually wins the bid they get the raw materials from the same suppliers.

Member

Very true! Just recently Eva wrote about Viktor Orbán’s daddy “and his original business venture, a quarry he managed to buy with some financial help from his eldest son’s party. The quarry by now has been exhausted, and Győző Orbán would like to use the empty pit as a landfill site. His goal is to dispose of some 250,000 tons of refuse there a year, mostly bricks and concrete, which must be broken up by heavy equipment.”
http://hungarianspectrum.org/2015/03/15/civic-courage-is-returning-to-hungary/

I think factually Viktor Orban’s hometown, Felcsut provided that largest success story to the world after Dubai, and Las Vegas. The number of millionaires that town of less than 2000 churned out without as much as a single lottery ticket is truly fascinating.
“In 2009 Felcsút became the richest Hungarian settlement by capita (171092 HUF), pushing 2nd and 12th district of Budapest to the 2nd and 3rd place. In 2008 Felcsút was standing in the 336th place.” Since than a stadium grow out wit the help of taxpayers, and now with the help of the European Union they will also have their own little rail line.

Webber
Guest

OT – a question for American legal experts or people with experience in the State Department: I seem to remember from school, ages ago, that a person who served a foreign government could lose his American citizenship. Is this still the case?
I ask because I’ve just read an interesting article in the latest issue of the weekly Vasárnapi Hírek about the American citizen, the banker Stephen I. Nagy (Nagy István) who serves as Hungary’s Ambassador to Switzerland and, allegedly, assists Orbán and the MET company with banking issues they have in Switzerland.

Garfield
Guest

We know Orban is paranoid. For example his almost-childhood-friend president Janos Ader figured Orban’s personal secret service TEK was reporting to Orban about his (ie. Áder’s) meetings to Orbán, so Ader switched to a different security organization, the so-called készenléti rendőrség (a branch of the police) for his personal protection.

So the question is: why would Orban trust any person such as Stephen Nagy?

What would be the fact which would convince Orban that such person would be loyal to him and remain loyal forever?

That Nagy never outed his Middle-Eastern clients during his career?

And/or Nagy that has been a member of a (or more) secret services?

There aren’t too many circumstances which could convince Orban, I’m betting on these two.

Member
I am not an expert, but I searched the Internet: http://www.newcitizen.us/losing.html Newcitizen.us was formed and organized by a patriotic group of naturalized and native-born Americans. Holding A Policy Level Position In A Foreign Country If you become an elected official or hold a policy-level position (like an ambassador, cabinet minister, or any high level administrative position where you make government policy) in your native country or a foreign country, you run the risk of losing your US citizenship. On the other hand, if you hold a non-policy level job like working in your native country’s embassy or working for your native country’s government in an advisory or purely administrative capacity, you run little risk of jeopardizing your US citizenship. For further information, see the State Department’s circular: ADVICE ABOUT POSSIBLE LOSS OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND SEEKING PUBLIC OFFICE IN A FOREIGN STATE. “Employment, while over the age of 18, with the government of a foreign country or a political subdivision thereof is a potentially expatriating act pursuant to Section 349(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act if you are a citizen of that foreign country or if you take an oath of allegiance to that country in connection to such… Read more »
Webber
Guest

Thank you! Nice to know that my memory of something learned 30 years ago isn’t entirely off. The logic, as explained to me back when, was that serving a foreign government was an act of treason. Apparently there is a loophole to allow lobbying (the “non-policy-level” position).
An ambassador, according to what you’ve put up, is a policy-level position. So, that’s clear. Citizenship should be revoked.
Nagy should do the honorable thing, save himself embarrassment and renounce his US citizenship. But then, IF he is helping Orban and others hide embezzled funds, why would he ever do the honorable thing?
I hope the State Department acts if he does not. After all, certain Hungarian officials were banned from visiting the US because of alleged corruption – this seems, to this American, much worse.
(n.b. honorably renouncing citizenship was done recently by dual citizens who became public officials in a Baltic state or two, Poland, and Georgia, as I recall).

backtoback
Guest

Not only that but if Nagy is still a US citizen which may or may not be the case (he could have renounced his citizenship in the meantime), he is committing crimes which could be prosecuted under US laws — unless Nagy is working for one of the two dozen US intel agencies which Orban may or may not suspect. I can imagine that Orban would be OK with Nagy working for the US so he could act as a kind of back-channel contact. Orban would figure that in such case the US could make all these info Nagy is privy to public only by essentially revealing that Nagy has been an agent of the US which Orban figures the US will not do given Nagy’ previous carreer involved in Middle-Eastern matters. I think money laundering is surely something for which there must be at least reasonable suspicion in connection with Nagy, but the US books are full of crimes which may apply too.

googly
Guest

Andy Vajna is definitely involved in government policy making, with regards to the film industry, so I wonder if he is able to retain his US citizenship, and why.

Member

Good point. I am just not sure if his position considered “policy level”. I think under “policy” they mean diplomatic, and foreign policy. Vajna acts as an expert, and the policies he is contributing to does not change any diplomatic or foreign relations.

THe question to be asked, did he took an oath or made an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or a political subdivision?
Where such expatriating acts are performed, it is important to consider the issues of voluntariness and intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship.

The other point is that Vajna can claim that he is working for his “native country’s government in an advisory or purely administrative capacity” . If he does then he “run little risk of jeopardizing [his] US citizenship.

Either case in order to the citizenship to be reworked, someone has to file a complaint with the Government of the USA.

higgins
Guest

Andy Vajna almost certainly committed criminal acts under US law and given he is a US citizen he knows he could be prosecuted in the US under US laws even if he committed the acts in Hungary. The question is then why isn’t he worried?

Member

Whet “crimes” are you referring to? I am not aware of any crime he committed. He took advantage of his friendship with Orban that is not a crime, and I am most sure if his position is any more than an advisory position. I am not a fan of Vajna, but I do not think he committed any crime.

István
Guest
Although rare, it is possible for a naturalized U.S. citizen to have his or her citizenship stripped through a process called “denaturalization.” Former citizens who are denaturalized are subject to removal (deportation) from the United States. Natural-born U.S. citizens may not ever have their citizenship revoked against their will, but may choose to renounce their citizenship on their own. Service for a foreign nation is not necessarily grounds for revoking citizenship. If the nation is considered a terrorist state it is. Your citizenship may be revoked if the U.S. government can prove that you joined a subversive organization within five years of becoming a naturalized citizen. Membership in such organizations is considered a violation of the oath of U.S. allegiance. Examples include the Nazi Party and Al Qaeda. Dual citizenship except in special situations is normally grounds for the denial for a US security clearance. The first form you have to fill out is this one http://www.opm.gov/Forms/pdf_fill/SF86.pdf and it contains specific questions about dual nationality. I recall having confronted Mr. Goodfriend about his having soft peddled the problems with American Hungarians taking dual citizenship, he took a rather neutral stance on it in a number of his comments and realy… Read more »
Webber
Guest

Nagy is a naturalized citizen, not a natural-born one.
As to Mr. Goodfriend, in my view he was not lax in neglecting to inform people about this sort of thing. The individual is responsible for his own decisions. Also, that sort of minor task was never part of Goodfriend’s job.
The people serving the public at the windows in the embassy inform people (or used to), if the question is asked.
In any case, very few Americans will ever want security clearance. Most work in the private sector.

Member

I wish you would of read my reply from yesterday!

Ron
Guest

Road construction in Hungary was always very expensive, 3-5 times the value of the German construction prices. But HUF 4 billion per KM,exceed the most expensive road construction country in Europe, which is Austria due to the mountainous area in which the construction takes place.

Since 2013 the EU looks at all road constructions financed via the EU and especially via Cohesion and Regional Development Funds, and they are organizing a data bank for costs and the differences.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_ECA-13-22_en.htm

spectator
Guest

What a shameless greediness!

It seems that the ‘good boys’ trying to gather as much as they can in the shortest available time – I guess, because they know that it won’t last long.

As it goes the word “thief” pretty soon will be equivalent with Hungarian…

Thank you Viktor for the opportunity!

Or else.

Guest

Totally OT but strange and funny in a way:

Today we drove into Keszthely and were really surprised (like probably many other people …) that some supermarkets were open, while others were closed as expected.
Tesco was open (but the selection of fruit and vegetables available was horrible and severely limited …) as was Penny – but why?
Interspar, Aldi and Lidl were closed …

Bea
Guest

There are five weekends when the retailers can choose to stay open. Some thought that the Sunday before Easter should be one and about three will be used before Christmas. But basically you never know which company uses which Sunday to use up the five opportunities.

googly
Guest

I was wondering if maybe Tesco knows something about Fidesz planning to change their mind, and wanted to use up their alotted Sundays quickly, so as to not waste them. This springs to mind because it seems to me that the Sunday before Easter is not a good day to open, since there’s a Saturday before Easter to shop – Spar seems to agree. Probably, though, Tesco just wanted to use their Sundays while people are still in the habit of shopping on Sunday, and Fidesz is not going to repeal the law until right before the next election (imagine, the united left campaigns with “if we win, we will allow you to shop wherever you want to on Sunday!”, and Fidesz says “Too late, you can start shopping on Sunday right now, thanks to us!”).

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