The evidence is missing, but the Hungarian government claims “food discrimination”

About a month ago the Hungarian government suddenly discovered a test from 2014 that “proved” that multinational companies sell inferior varieties of their products to the poor Central and East European countries. Many Hungarians, in fact, are convinced that products in Austria or Germany are superior to the ones found on the supermarket shelves in Hungary. The test the Hungarian government was referring to sounded haphazard at best to me, and after collecting information from various sources I came to the conclusion that the story was just another of the propaganda weapons the Orbán government uses against Brussels and the West in general. But true or not, János Lázár looked into his crystal ball and deemed food discrimination “the greatest scandal of the coming years.”

It is somewhat surprising how long it took for the Orbán government to bring to the attention of the Hungarian public these alleged “double standards” since Slovakia was preoccupied with the matter already in 2016. The Slovak government was hoping that during their EU presidency they would be able to start a move toward tighter regulation of food products at the European level. But the Slovaks failed. The Czechs, who also complained, didn’t get any farther either. It turned out that there is no way to address the alleged problem without drafting new sections of the EU food law that would require years of tortuous negotiations.

It was after this early failure to remedy the alleged situation that the Visegrád countries decided to tackle the problem jointly. The question of food quality was on the agenda at the Warsaw Summit of the Visegrád Four on March 2, 2017. The Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Slovak prime ministers claimed that some firms use cheaper ingredients in the products sold in their countries. They demanded action on the part of the European Commission and Parliament. It was a deadly serious affair as far as they were concerned. As Slovak Prime Minister Fico put it, different standards in food quality send a “dangerous political message.” Viktor Orbán claimed that “Central Europeans are treated like second-class citizens in terms of the quality of food products” and added that “our citizens must have full and comprehensive information about the quality of food they can buy in our stores.” Three Fidesz members of the European Parliament submitted a written inquiry a few days ago to the European Commission demanding action on this issue.

While the Visegrád Four were battling in Brussels, the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture instructed the Nemzeti Élelmiszerlánc-biztonsági Hivatal/National Food Chain Safety Office (Nébih) to examine 96 products sold in Hungary and to compare them to the same products sold abroad. According to the website of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Office corroborated the results of its previous investigation of 2014. “It worries that varying differences in quality were determined with regard to 70 percent of the products examined, compared to the same products distributed in Western Europe.” But on what basis did they make the comparisons? Not, for the most part, on food chemistry but on “taste, aroma, consistency, etc.” In a few cases, the testers discovered differences in “content.”

Source: HVG

Nébih published four expensive-looking, multi-color booklets that try to support the contention of the Hungarian government. Well, others went through the material provided by Nébih and came to entirely different conclusions. Even Magyar Hírlap announced that “there is no difference in the overwhelming majority of items” tested by the office. It was only at the very end of their article that they mentioned that Sándor Fazekas, minister of agriculture, has a different opinion.

In HVG’s amusing article titled “Fifty Shades of Blackness,” where “blackness” here means “stupidity,” we can read about some of the most ridiculous distinctions the testers discovered. For example, Nestlé’s Cookie Crisp breakfast cereal purchased abroad is lighter in color than the kind sold in Hungary. When it comes to spices, differences were found in color, smell, intensity, etc. As we know, the shelf life of spices is not at all immaterial. Spices, especially if bought already ground, lose intensity rapidly. As for olive oil, they came to the conclusion that the oil sold abroad has a yellowish color while the kind sold in Hungary is greener. (If that is really the case, the Hungarians are lucky because extra virgin olive oil should have a greenish hue.) They even compared lemons without paying the slightest attention to variety. Among Spanish lemons there are dozens of different kinds, and as long as testers disregard that crucial factor they are comparing apples and oranges instead of lemons.

Never mind that the test was a joke that failed to confirm the government’s accusations. What now? The government will pay even closer attention to what is being sold by the supermarkets. (I assume supermarkets whose parent companies are headquartered outside of Hungary will be singled out for scrutiny.) In the future, the government might demand the management of these supermarkets to be familiar with consumer protection rules and employees have detailed knowledge of the products the stores sell. The government is planning to raise the fees for inspections as well as fines. Let’s make the foreign companies pay for sins that no one committed. Of course, this is all allegedly being done in the interest of the consumer, who will end up paying more for products because of the added expenses forced upon firms. This government’s constant interference with multinational providers of goods and services, solely for political ends, is doing incredible harm to the Hungarian economy.

March 30, 2017
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Robert
Guest

Blinded by your hatred you embarked on a subject that you are not only not an expert but you also have no idea about. You would let the Hungarian people pay the same for lesser quality of food just to grind your axes on the Orbán government. Sometimes or I should say many times I have the feeling that your blogs are written in Hungary by a team of left-lib Gurcsányájtsz and they are published under your name.

I guess they pay you royalty for using your name. Pathetic 🙁

petofi
Guest

Robert/Vladimir…you ass wipe. Hungarians always buy the cheapest–that’s just the Hungarian way.

Funny you should mention ‘axes’…were you in on the Azeri gig, too? We call that a Freudian slip–those of us who’ve gone past grade 6…

Ferenc
Guest

Robert, have you looked into the report?
I happen to really like Haribo sweets and these seems to be a difference, the western one contains maracuja, while on the other hand the Hungarian one contains passion-fruit.
I would like to taste the best one, so can you you explain me what that difference means?

Ferenc
Guest

“many times I have the feeling etc.”
Evil doers are evil dreaders (meaning: somebody trusts/sees other people after his own character)

Hungarian: Ki mint él, úgy ítél [Mindenki magából indul ki]
May be you can come up with the Russian saying

pappp
Guest
I think Robert should be kicked out he is a paid troll. First, Hungarians pay often less for the same product because at the same price as in Germany or France there would be no or smaller) demand. But to be able to sell at a cheaper price point producers may actually decide to dilute the original recipe. This is rare though. Starbucks actually did something like that in the US: after 2008 it started to change the quality of its products for the worse (previously fresh squeezed orange juice became from concentrate, cakes became more fatty and could be preserved for more days etc.) because customers had less money after the recession. Moreover, taste varies from country to country. Just as magazines with the same title have different editorial strategies, various people prefer different recipes (more sugary in the US, more fatty, more spicy in the McDonalds etc.). But you have to know that very often the products (e.g. Kit Kat snack bar) are manufactured in one single factory for Europe (you know, economies of scale). As a result, varying the recipe isn’t really an option – changing the package size is more possible. Which, as we talked about… Read more »
Guest

Pappp, you nailed it re quality of Hungarian food – it exists, but you have to know about it.
I’ve said it before – we also take “tons of stuff” from Hungary to Germany, not only for us but also for friends and family.
That’s globalisation for me …

But I have to disagree re O:
For him and his cronies it’s not a joke, it’s one small point in their strategy to divert from Hungary’s home made problems.
It’s always someone else’s fault!

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘strategy of diversion’

Yep keep’em jumpin’. No doubt more of this stuff. Looks like state’s taking a page from Wendy’s….’Where’s the beef?’ Believe they will hunt for it now in every nook and cranny.
And really we shouldn’t bet on frozen Kiev Chicken wraps being tested..;-)…

Ferenc
Guest

“whole thing was a joke, a media gimmick by Orban”
You’re absolutely right, but this joke/gimmick will not stop here:
-OV&Co will take it to ‘Brussels’,
-which will respond something like “don’t waste our time, this is not our competence” (they’re right, differences aren’t their competence),
-and then OV&Co will complain in Hungary (and neighbors) that the EU is not protecting it’s own citizens of ……… [no idea which heavy, but inappropriate, word to expect here]

The completion above sequence has to be prevented with all means available!!

Guest
Now back to reality (with the support of my very food-discriminating Hungarian wife): Hungarian products often are inferior – made by Hungarian companies! Examples: Most milk products – cheese, butter, sour cream usually contain more water, less fat (ergo less taste). Of course in the puszta it’s diffficult to make good cheese – compared to the Alps … Sausage is usually very fatty, there are exceptions of course – but these are expensive! General problem: The high VAT aka Afa! And the price calculations are different – because of the high competition in Germany e g many products are one third cheaper – or 50% more expensive in Hungary, sometimes even double price! Therefore we (like all Hungarians that go abroad regularly) bring lots of stuff from germany/Austria – we have a freezer in our car (!) and two cooling boxes. Also one shouldn’t forget that tastes are different – Hungarians seem to like very sweet stuff (like the Americans btw …) everywhere you have sugar added and what’s even worse: The HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) which is used in sweet drinks, ketchup etc … The result: Overweight and obese people, especially children! Every time we go to our… Read more »
bimbi
Guest

@Wolfi7777, 2:34 a.m.

“Most milk products – cheese, butter, sour cream usually contain more water…”

This is not the first time you have come up with this assertion. BUT where is your evidence? Milk in Hungary – for better or for worse – is graded into 1,5%, 2,8% and 3,6% fat, so it is processed, as is cheese, butter and sour cream but you need hard evidence to support your claim. Is there any? In any case would the addition of “more water” be illegal under the food purity laws of Hungary? (“More water” than what?)

Great that you have a freezer in your vehicle so you can go and buy “good and pure” food in the West – just a pity about all the nitrous and carbon oxide pollution that you leave in your wake.

Guest

Bimbi, it’s very simple with sour cream e g:

German “creme fraiche” has 30% fat (it says so on the package) – you can’t get that in Hungary afaik, the regular tejföl has 12 or 15%, 20% is the maximum.

Re driving from Germayn to Hungary and back:

My wife says she wouldn’t want to be “imprisoned in Hungary” again – she was for more than 40 years …
That is her freedom that counts – and I’m not even talking about people who go on holidays overseas.

Btw my little Opel is Euro6 and uses less than 6 liters/100 km – gas of course, I hate Diesel (and the recent and ongoing scandal proves me right).

bimbi
Guest

@wolfi7777, 7:18 a.m.

Thanks for the response – just kiddin’ about the pollution, OK? As to 30% fat or even 20% tejfol, who would want to buy that? More fat is better? (We never use anything but 12%.) But this just epitomizes the whole question. What do we mean by “good” or “better” in this context?

All I would ask is that the discussion on alleged “second-class food for the second-class citizens of the ECE Gang of Four countries” should have a sound basis in science. Is that too much to ask? Lazar and Orban certainly eat well – look at them waist lines!

It is possible to eat well in Hungary and not expensively. What is of more concern to me is theft by government officials, a rotten Hungarian economy that does not allow people a decent living scale of pay, harassment of NGOs, the corruption of the media and the judiciary and the outrageous attack on the Central European University by the Gauleiter of Budapest.

As the protest sign said a few years ago, “Hello Europe, Sorry
about my Prime Minister”.

pappp
Guest

Wolfi, there is the Gault Millau guide which is like the Michelin restaurant guide, somewhat less famous. There’s an association which edits its Hungarian edition and has a Hungarian language home page. (gomijo.hu)

They organize various tasting events of various basic Hungarian ingredients like – so far – sour cream, red pepper, sausage (Debreziner), bread, potato, poultry etc. Their consistent conclusion has been that the situation is terrible, most such domestically produced products are awful, tasteless or just terrible. Do not even reach the mid-level quality. For example most potato you can buy in Hungary is animal fodder quality (variety) potato. Debreziner used to be a high quality meat product before 1945 (for those who could afford it), only “the very best may go into it” old butcher handbooks prescribed. These days most of such suasages you can buy is dog food quality. And so on.

There are always one or two products out of maybe 10-12 they taste, which qualify as good quality, the rest is just trash.

Guest

Again, we’re lucky – buy much of our fruit and vegetables (including very good potatoes …) from one of our neighbours – at over 70 we’re just too old to manage a large garden, so we have essentially only spices, a few tomato and paprika plants and fruit trees/bushes.

petofi
Guest

If you got cherries, I’ll come and help harvest..

Guest

We got cherries (cseresznye) and sour cherries (meggy) – and when there are too many to de-core them I put them in “rum pots” together with other fruits.

That’s a German tradition: you need sugar and strong rum (54% alc) – which again I have to bring from Germany …
In winter I eat that stuff with icecream or Greek yoghurt – you just have to be careful, lots of alc …

Ferenc
Guest

@wolfi
one thing you didn’t mention: Hungarians like salt (‘for better taste’….)
we all need our daily salt, but stuffing yourself with much more than needed is never good, in with salt this results in high blood pressure (also not good!)

and about high blood pressure: I have heard from several Hungarians (with high blood pressure), that their doctors did not suggest reducing their salt consumption (which to my knowledge should be the first thing to do); what’s more they didn’t even mention salt and it’s in relation to blood pressure at all…..

PS: in the food test was found that Vegeta in Hungary contained more salt than the one from a western country (btw both produced in Croatia), most likely for the reason mentioned above “Hungarians like salt”
I suspect that this difference is taken as a support of the claim of lower quality by Nehib and the rest

Guest

Yes, too much salt is a big problem in food, that’s why my wife uses only fresh ingredients if possible and some things we just don’t eat in winter when they’re not available fresh.

But in “junk food” like McD etc …

Btw that’s another point:
That awful EU made laws that force the producers of food to show which ingredients they use – from nice sweet HFCS to salt and preservatives!
You just have to read those lists – I do, but a typical Hungarian?

PS:
I found it interesting and funny in a way that Hungary is the biggest user in Europe of HFCS (in CocaCola etc) – per head almost as much is used as in the USA, now go figure that!

PPS:
We just had a wonderful lunch – a Kakas pörkölt made fom a freshly slaughtered neighbour’s rooster with a sauce using Italian canned tomatoes and German sour cream plus Italian noodles …
This was accompanied by a Mediterranean salad (with olives etc and Hungarian garlic – not the Chines one …)
Wonderful!

petofi
Guest

(I’m definitely going to look you up when I’m in Hungary…)

Guest

Sure, petofi, you’re welcome!

Just to give you an idea of our “global village” – her are the visitors (family and friends) that we had last year:

Of course my wife’s and my family – among them my sister who lives with her English husband near London – her daughter and her Irish husband might come this year.
My wife’s nephew who lives near Nashville with his family – one of the sons brought his girlfriend, her family came from India.
My friends from Romania with their children, he’s a Schwab, she’s of Hungarian descent – they came to Germany after 1989.

A good friend from Sweden with his Hungarian wife (“met” him on politics.hu first).
A couple from Asia, both of them profs in Budapest – also from pol.hu (no country given for some reason).
A friend from the USA who married and divorced a Hungarian there – but decided to stay in Hungary …
This year my other nephew (who works for Amazon) and his US girlfriend are expected.
Ain’t globalisation fun?

PS.

All of themm enjoyed their stay here – of course politics were not that relevant for them …

Guest

If the “Multies” sell bad stuff why are the customers not flocking in the government sponsored shops? Let the customers have a free choice without political interference.

Ferenc
Guest

Let’s compare more western products against Hungarian (or from other CEE countries).
I propose to start with good recently produced examples: e.g.football stadiums, swimmingpools, state television, fair representation after elections, etc.
Open to all further suggestions for comparison

bimbi
Guest
This whole new/old war with the West/EU victimizing the poor Hungarians is – on the evidence presented – is a complete stupidity and a non-issue. In scientific terms (and by what other criteria should they be judged?) the Nebih reports are little better than a middle school class project. A complaint to the EU cannot be based on such a presentation? Crass! Then we read that the ECE Gang of Four countries “claimed that some firms use cheaper ingredients in the products sold in their countries” (no evidence of course). Well Praise Be for that! Otherwise Hungarians couldn’t even think of buying them. Maybe Viktor Orban would do well to develop a Hungarian economy where employees could earn a fair living wage so they could also afford the expensive Western products that he and his family enjoys. But now again Hungary declares (spurious) war on the EU (for not protecting us), on Western food distributors and Western supermarkets utterly without justification or clear evidence. I cannot help the picture entering my mind of the ECE Gang of Four sitting around their table mentally masturbating to come up with some new idiocy with which to confront the “West”. These are the… Read more »
Guest

Our friend “Robert” is a Fidesz troll who is in fact doing the opposition a great favour.

He is an excellent example of Fidesz-style, which is to rubbish in a rude and uncivilized manner, notions of tolerance, inclusiveness, and free speech, while at the same time enjoying its benefits such as being able to make his government propoganda comments on Éva’s pages in the first place, as she generously even bothers to include his vituperative, nasty and untrue Orbán-speak statements, straight from the PM’s mouth.
Go Éva, boo to Robert.

Member

Agree, but let’s don’t pretend like Fidesz has a monopoly on rudeness and intolerance. The opposition engages in the same kind of crap, but they do it in a more refined, less childish manner.

One of my biggest problems with Orban is that he has led the Hungarian public to believe that this kind of behavior is publicly acceptable.

petofi
Guest

Sad but true. And on a much bigger stage, Trumpism has done the same-

Observer
Guest

Alex K

It’s difficult to live amongst whores and remain a virgin.

And then in my more than 15 years experience, these kind of people are impervious to rational arguments, to evidence, e.g. proven wrong they charge ad hominem with you are not a Hungarian so you can’t understand (note – can not possibly argue with Hungarians), or to a H they use you are leftist, now liberal, so you can’t possibly be right.

As I often state, this is the tragic path to a condition where no rational discourse is possible and the only resolution is by force. And, unsurprisingly, this is the way of the Orban regime right now.

petofi
Guest

Where is a Savonarola when we need him-

Ferenc
Guest
One thing I start fearing is that if items, brought up by HU government, are not handled inside-out by Hungarian independent media (which should include directly and deeply questioning responsible persons of government), the HU government will turn all they can in their favor. Especially all cases with international (especially EU) influence. They will claim that: -‘Brussels’ does nothing for the average Hungarian -and is only defending foreign / non-Hungarian interests. They will point out to EU support for refugees/asylumseekers, CEU, human rights, etc and on the other hand EU not willing to defend Hungarians against things like ‘inferior food’. So there is a huge task for the independent media to tackle such items very thoroughly, regarding this ‘food discrimination’: 1.study the report seriously 2.put questions (as directly as possible) to the people responsible for the report (Nehib) 3.put questions (as directly as possible) to politicians using the report for making false claims 4.get on the table the costs of this “study” and who really did the study (I suspect some students, which easily could be manipulated, I sense similarities with personal experience in projects in Hungary) 5.make all institutions and politicians accountable for their part: Nehib for the study… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

another thing which can be done is making complete fools of that bunch of buttheads
the only one I’m aware of trying such consequently (and funny) is the TwoTailedDog Party, but their method is mainly actions
there should be more people full of humor in Hungary, please independent media give them a big as possible podium!!

Aaike
Guest

I read in a Dutch newspaper, some weeks ago, an interview with an Hungarian food researcher. She mentioned that for example chocolate sandwich spread is not only sweater and thus made with a different recipe, but that is due to the fact that the Hungarian people like sweeter stuff than for example Austrians. If that is true, this means the food companies actually do a good job. They listen to the market. The same counts for the budget of consumers. If this is substantially lower, other ingredients might be needed to keep your products in the market. I guess Orbán does not want to see how a free market makes this happen. Or he is after some kind of planned economy like we used to see in communism…

Observer
Guest

Yes. Today, Fri morning Klub radio interviewed the chairwoman of the Hun Food Processors Assoc. She spoke about the numerous way they (multinationals includes) vary the ingredients, ratios, recipes, prices, etc to suit local tastes, purchase power and demand in general. It was very informative and cast serious doubt, after all how does one measure taste against taste.

I used to try buying from small local producers many years ago, but gave up after series of disasters with wine, honey, veggies, processesd meat. In a control test three weeks ago a bank of expensive horse radish was thrown away and we continue to buy the Unilever one.

Guest

You’re right – many Hungarians prefer sweetness, especially that HFCS ta ste. But my wife e g abhors this – she was completely flabbergasted however when I took her to the Ritter Sport factory in Germany (not too far from where we live) and she could try their best chocolate with 73% cocoa …
PS and totally OT:
If you’re ever near Stuttgart – come to Waldenbuch, Ritter has not only a chocolate museum there and an art museum (!) but also a chocolate factory outlet where we buy good chocolate at half the Hungarian price …
That’s always a very welcome present here! 🙂

petofi
Guest

German chocolates? Only Reber Mozart Kugeln for me.

petofi
Guest

Along with Reber, I’ve developed a fondness for Deberg “Sweet Moments”–a marzipan based selection. Highly recommend.

Member

We have lived in Europe on and off for a number of years and have now retired to Hungary. We noticed long ago that many commercial food stuffs are modified for local tastes. Packaged soups (Maggi or Knorr for example) in the Netherlands are different from those in Switzerland or Hungary, which are different from each other. As Wolfi has said in this conversation, we also get wonderful things locally. Of course, we live in a small agricultural city in the puszta. Wonderful local salamis and kolbasz from several different small producers, Eggs from friends’ chickens, all fantastic quality and taste. It is true that Hungarians do not seem to be able to produce good cheese. They produce a lot of artisanal cheese, but not really great quality. We just returned from a vacation west with about 10 kg of French and Swiss cheeses.

Istvan
Guest

Off topic but related to comments by Petofi on possible Russian involvement not just in the general election for President of the USA but also in the US Republican primary that led to Trump’s election. The NY Times ran an article where Senator Rubio’s primary campaign had been a target of Russian subversion https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/marco-rubio-russian-cyberattacks.html There is, however, no way of measuring the electoral impact of that likely subversion that I have seen. So in fairness to our friend Petofi I wanted to post this information.

On another issue of concern to the Hungarian community relating to Russian penetration and influence amongst advisers to Trump. The Wall Street Journal reports Mike Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser has made the offer to the FBI and the House and Senate intelligence committees through his lawyer to to be interviewed in exchange for a grant of immunity from prosecution. Clearly this indicates at least Flynn fears prosecution as an unregistered foreign agent under the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Observer
Guest

Now if Trump could kick out the Attorney General and all Dept. Heads and install his own P.Polt and co. MF and other cheats wouldn’t have anything to worry about. Why don’t they come to Felcsut to learn.

I’m thinking of founding a Dictators Academy next to the soccer one. Add a Dictators Retirement Village next to the golf course up the road to Etyek. it will be all feather of a bird.

Istvan
Guest

The corrupt Russian and Central European money going into just the Trump World Tower at 845 United Nations Plaza in New York City makes all the money spent by Orban on Felcsut look like a joke see https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-16/behind-trump-s-russia-romance-there-s-a-tower-full-of-oligarchs Trump has nothing to learn about effectively laundering illgotten gains from Orban, he has done very well in that regard.

Istvan
Guest

Here is an article on the corrupt money that went into Trump’s Florida properties http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article108150442.html

Guest
Istvan, thanks for this! What a strange coincidence … The following story is fact. The last holiday I had in the USA before I met my wife here in Hungary was 2006 in Miami Beach – there was a very good price for a last minute flight and a week in the Dezerland Hotel in Sunny Isles, so I booked it (just for me) to GAFIA (get away from it all …). On my first evening I didn’t want to go out so I sat down in the hotel bar for a beer – the Dezerland is famous for having old cars as seating … A man came in, obviously very happy, and called out to the bartender: A drink on me for everyone at the bar! When I thanked him and asked what made him so happy he told me that he was a salesman for the Trump Tower (not too far away from this hotel) and he ghad just sold several condos to “rich people from Middle America”. He also said that Trump only lent his name to the thing, probably for getting a percentage … After a while and another beer on him he left because “he… Read more »
Istvan
Guest

Yes Trump is getting money from gangsters for condos he doesn’t even own based on naming rights. On that level he is brilliant I will give him that.

Wolfi, Trump tower here in Chicago took 11 years to sell out 486 units, apparently the Russians like Florida and New York much better than Chicago. By the way a 2,700-square-foot condo on the 34th floor sold for its $2.31 million asking price recently. That’s a lot of money, my single family modernized 1888 Victorian home on the north side of the city with more square footage, a yard, and a three car garage two city blocks from Lake Michigan is valued at about $700,000. Truly some people spend money purely for prestige and Trump appeals to those types. I am sure you see that at Lake Balaton too.

Guest

Istvan, I don’t remember the prices of these Miami Beach apartments but they struck me as crazy then.

And the Russians here near Hévíz have houses which are very discreetely surrounded by small forests – you can’t see much of them.
Seems that Hévíz is a favourite for them Russians (though not all are so rich …) – there are flights from our little airport (Code SOB – ain’t that funny? :)) and many restaurants have menues in Russian …

petofi
Guest

Trump was never ‘brilliant’. I bet he doesn’t know 10% of what his father did. He’s a loud mouth-piece and the bankers allow him to continue to get their money back.

petofi
Guest

‘Trump Tower’ in Sunny Isles is drek.
I was in it. Acquaintances (Russians!) had bought a unit on a high floor–2 bdrm–for over a million. I wouldn’t have traded my one room at the Marco Polo for it.

FreeWheeling
Guest

If I recall correctly Fidesznik Kubatov and possibly one other was sent to the US to “learn” from how Marco Rubio administrated his campaign.

petofi
Guest

@ Istvan

re: Flynn offer

Don’t fall for this: the offer is made to give the verisimilitude of valuable, honest testimony. I’d bet it would be a mash of lies used to help coverup. If Flynn was a threat, he’d be pushing up daisies by now.

Istvan
Guest

Murdering Flynn would be unthinkable no matter what he knows Petofi. Clearly he is at least in violation of the foreign agent act because his registration took place well after he was paid for services by two foreign nations.

Flynn like myself, even though he retired, remaines likely in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) from what I have read. U.S. military retirement is not characterized as a discharge as retirees may be recalled to active duty, under certain circumstances, until they have achieved a total of 30 years of service. In my case I was in the IRR for 8 years following retirement with 22 years combined active duty and Army Reserve service.

I was called up for Operation Desert Storm several years after lretiring from the Reserves. Because of likely IRR status Flynn could also be subject to military prosecution for some of his contacts too. As we used to say in the Army: the boy is in a world of shit – so Congressional immunity is a real good idea for him no matter how Trump plays this.

LwiiH
Guest
I noted some time before this report that the quality and variety of food in Hungary (aside from fresh markets) is generally of lower quality and it makes sense without any conspiracy. It’s just how markets work. Food is bid on like any other commodity so highest bidder takes the best quality. Despite the low wages Hungary is a surprisingly expensive country to operate in. Because of the low wages people can’t spend as much on food which means the hyper-market profits get squeezed on both ends. To make things work you can’t bid as high and forget about variety. Second point, it is quite common for plants to make off-label versions of their products and they will do so according to the spec’s of the purchaser. So, it’s quite possible that the cheaper Nutella substitute in Liddl was made in the same plant as the branded product but to a different spec. Add in differences in tastes and you get the point. Compare the economic gradient across eastern Hungary to Budapest to the western end of the country and quality will be consistent be variety not so and forget about things considered to be luxuries. No conspiracy, nothing to… Read more »
Guest

OT I have often experienced that when I want to pay a restaurant bill in Hungary and insert my credit card into the machine, the amount to be payed is shown on the display in the currency of my homeland. I have also often experienced that the machine asks me to choose whether I want to pay in Hungarian currency or my homeland’s currency. I have never doubted that there is some scheme behind it that earns easy money for somebody if I make the wrong choice. As I have not been able to figure out how the scheme works I have asked my bank what to do. The answer was: “Always choose to pay in the local currency.” So that was what I wanted to do in the so-called tax free shop in Budapest airport. The cashier asked me politely in what currency I wanted to pay my bottle of drink and box of chocolate. According to the golden rule I had learned in my bank I answered: “Hungarian currency”.
“That is impossible” was the answer, “Hungarian currency can only be used if you pay cash.”
I decided to stick to the rule and left without the merchandise.

Guest

Jean, what you described is a kind of scam that is worked also with debit cards (like the EC-card) at ATMs!
There at least you are shown how much € (in my case) will be deducted from your account – and it’s always much more, maybe 5% …
It would only be sensible if you expect the Forint to rise really strongly. So always choose the option “local currency” as you did!

LwiiH
Guest

All transactions occur in the local currency. It’s who gets the exchange commission that you’re deciding on.

Guest

I suspect that I choose between paying one commission for one exchange transaction or paying two or more commissions for two or more consecutive exchange transactions.

petofi
Guest

@Jean P

Both are wrong choices: they hose you on the exchange rate either way. I’d guess about 20-25%.

LwiiH
Guest

card charges flat exchange rate with many cards charging the standard 3% comission.

hfrog
Guest

Orban is ratcheting up tension as we speak. He has the full backing of the far-right such Laszlo Torockai at el.

This is gonna be tougher than what anybody anticipated.

Orban went completely insane, he’s completely unabashed.

He is becoming Milosevic (only he will distribute a lot of money so many people will be content) with the full support of the right-wing and extreme-right.

pappp
Guest

Janos Széky is partly right.

With the CEU-Soros campaign Orban and his intelligence agencies are working on behalf of Russia.

But it’s very naive to think that Orban doesn’t agree, that he is just an agent.

Orban hates the US and loves Russia (the Dugin ideology) and respects Putin’s power. Orban has been engineering a fundamental pivot to Russia especially as the Hungarian deep state is concerned.

But I maintain Orban wants to ban CEU also (mostly) because Orban enjoys this. He is that kind of person. I think one must stop being politically correct: Orban is a perverted person who enjoys tormenting others.

http://parameter.sk/orosz-be-soros-ki

Observer
Guest

I don’t know where does a deeply complexed personality becomes pervert, but from what I’ve read Orban had the misfortune to be impertinent and obnoxious while small in stature. This earned him a lot of slaps and hits (in his words: sallèr ès kokki ) from his his father to start with and in his military service at the end.
Add his lowly origin status in Budapest and provincial demenor, which he had in the year/s in uni.
Here are the sources of his anti intellectual, anti Budapest anti education, etc. disposition, vengefulness, total lack of morals, lust for powee, thievery, etc.

wpDiscuz