Recent gleanings from the Hungarian media

Frightening statistics

Here are a few items I found in the last few days that, while they may not deserve a whole post, certainly should be noted. The one that gave me perhaps the greatest shock came from an article I found on a site I wasn’t familiar with before but that has many useful pieces on economic and business matters. The article that describes a “frightening” statistic fresh off the website of the Központi Statisztikai Hivatal (KSH/Central Statistical Office) compares the productivity of foreign and domestic firms. It is a concise summary of the research published by KSH with all the necessary graphs, tables, and data.

The very first graph, on the share of foreign firms in the gross added value produced in the member states of the European Union, is shocking enough. It shows that Hungary, neck to neck with Ireland, has the greatest share. In general, and understandably, the foreign contribution to national economies is highest in the former communist countries. The sad truth in Hungary is that 53% of the revenue of the business sector is produced by foreign firms, which in monetary terms means 45 trillion forints. This sector produced 8,900 billion forints of added value. These firms also invested 2 trillion forints, or 45% of all investment, into the Hungarian economy. The foreign firms’ outperformance in revenue was accomplished with less than 30% of the workforce.

Both foreign and domestic firms increased their revenue over the last nine years, but the revenue of foreign firms increased by 20% while that of Hungarian firms grew by only 10%. If we look at the situation from the angle of added value, foreign firms have improved by 48% as opposed to the Hungarian companies’ 26%. So, instead of closing the gap with foreign companies, Hungarian companies are losing ground. Here are a few examples. Nine years ago an employee of a multinational created 9.7 million worth of added value as opposed to a Hungarian’s 4.1 million, or 2.4 times more. By 2015 the ratio was more than 2.6: 13.5 million versus 5.1 million forints.

That sounds bad enough, but it is even more shocking that about 690,000 men and women who work for foreign companies produce more goods and value than the almost 2 million employees of Hungarian companies.

Open your mouth and lose your job

One of the speakers at the Pécs rally in defense of the civil charitable group that received a large Soros-funded grant to disperse among smaller humanitarian groups in southern Transdanubia just lost his job. Tamás P. Horváth, who recently published his second book, became nationally known with his 2015 historical novel on the life of Miklós Zsolnay, the only son of the founder of the famed porcelain factory in Pécs. In private life, P. Horváth was the chef of the Hungarian Reformed Gymnasium. That is the school in which Péter Hoppál, Fidesz MP and undersecretary in charge of culture in the ministry of human resources, was once upon a time a chorister and music teacher. Hoppál eventually became the principal of the school and is still on the school’s board. It was his successor who called P. Horváth into his office to tell him that his services were no longer required. P. Horváth had signed a contract for a year in August, and after three months of satisfactory performance his position seemed secure. But retaliation was swift. He could pack up his belongings and leave immediately. The fact that the man is the father of five doesn’t seem to move the Christian souls of Calvin’s sons. After all, those children are not getting the “proper” education to become true patriots of the nation.

Of course, the principal of the school claims that there is absolutely no connection between P. Horváth’s political activities and his firing. But when Attila Babos of Szabad Pécs asked the principal the reason for P. Horváth’s loss of his job, the head of the school added a piece of advice both to the journalist and to P. Horváth. “Please understand that it wouldn’t help the situation of the person concerned if a basically work-related professional matter were to become a political issue.” So, back off because otherwise both the journalist and the fired chef can get into more trouble. The purported explanation for the firing was feeble, but it became truly ridiculous when it turned out that P. Horváth was supposed to deliver a lecture in January to the seniors on his new book and his literary craft. Interestingly, the lecture was also cancelled, and surely that lecture wasn’t about his culinary art.

Thirty-nine kitchenettes for the Felcsút Academy

After a lot of legal haggling Demokratikus Koalíció managed to find out how the Felcsút Academy spends the enormous amount of money it receives every year from Corporation Tax Allowance (TAO). It wasn’t easy to get the information. DK had to go all the way to the Kúria. For some strange reason, Felcsút was loath to reveal the amount it received and how it used taxpayer money.

First of all, last year Felcsút got 5.4 billion forints, which is a TAO record. Among the many sports-related items was one that took people’s breath away. 155 million forints were spent on a kitchenette. Index described a kitchenette (teakonyha) as a room used for cooking which must be larger than 2m² and no greater than 4m2 and must have separate ventilation. Index then calculated a 4m2 kitchenette’s price per square meter and compared it to the price per square meter of an apartment in the most elegant section of Buda, Rózsadomb (Hill of Roses). While the price of the Buda luxury real estate is 900,000 Ft per square meter, the Felcsút kitchenette’s price is almost 40 million.

What about this design? It would be perfect for Felcsút

The country was aghast, or at least those were appalled who are sick and tired of Viktor Orbán, Felcsút, the Academy, Lőrinc Mészáros, and the whole lot. But then it was discovered that the initial figure was incorrect. Actually, 220 million will be spent on 39 kitchenettes. They will cost between 1.3 and 2.8 million forints per square meter. I do hope the students appreciate their posh accommodations.

December 21, 2017
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Live Long and Prosper
Guest
Live Long and Prosper

The money spent on kitchenettes is not a repugnant example of the disgusting priorities of the worst government in Europe. It’s a wonderful investment in the dreams of the most wise leader: just think of how much benefit can flow to so many deserving Hungarians.
I don’t feel sick to my stomach. My spirit soars at the recognition of His greatness, intelligence, purity and almost saint-like perfection.
The poor and the sick should kneel before Him.

Guest

We’ve just visited some neighbours and saw their kitchens and living quarters – I felt like a time traveler going back a hundred years.
About the only “modern” stuff were the many freezers (though these also were relatively old, not the modern energy savers …) – but these are obviously needed because these people produce and process most of their food themselves …

the Pole
Guest
LATEST NEWS FROM POLAND. Sorry for the spam but this is day that marks the end of democracy in Poland. Today Polish President Andrzej Duda has signed into law two bills overhauling the judiciary in defiance of European Union criticism that the legislation undermines the rule of law in the country. Under the National Judicial Council (KRS) law, the body’s 15 members elected from among judges will be chosen for a four-year term by the Sejm (lower house), and not by the judicial community itself, as has been the case until now. All current judges will be automatically dismissed in clear violation of constitution. As for the Supreme Court (SN) bill, the retirement age for SN judges will be lowered from 70 to 65, although the president will be allowed to let some of them work past this limit. 40% of current judges together with the key president of the court howewer will be dismissed in clear violation of constitution. In addition, two new chambers will be set up at the SN, to deal with extraordinary control and public affairs, as well as disciplinary matters, respectively. They will include lay judges elected by the Senate. The latter chamber will be… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

Dear ‘the Pole’, happy that you’re still following this site. Feel very sorry for and with you and support with you against the happenings in your homeland.
To give you some light in these dark days, and in case you haven’t found, recommend to check out ‘’Visegrad Insight’ – http://visegradinsight.eu/ – run by independent journalists from all 4 countries, but with an emphasis on Poland, as that’s where it’s based (till now…)
Recently they had a conference about the “media landscapes and disinformation in Central Europe” and from that many articles currently on their site (and in their magazine).
Highly recommended!! Also for everybody following matters in any of the V4 countries.
Furthermore:
Merry Christmas / Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia

Observer
Guest

It seems too me that the “religious” populace, which happenes to be worse educated too, is much more easily bambooozeld by political fraudsters: USA, PL, Hun (where conspiracy theories are most easily accepted, amongst the EU countries). No wonder the Orban edu policies are as they are.

The Pole
Guest

Religious populace can be very easily manipulated. Local parish priests use the power they have to support PiS from the ambos. Even parish paper s are full of articles about opposition as a country’s traitors. Language of hatred generalny makes living in Poland unbearable.

Member

And the Poles also have their enemies. A polish collegue told me, that the hate against Germans is growing, due to Anti German propaganda (alleged WWII debts, dictate through the EU).
I wonder, when also Kaczynski will start to praise Russia again, otherwise, it gets bit tight: In the west those nasty democrats and in the east Russia, the old enemy.
But… always good to have enemies everywhere. The government then protects..

Istvan
Guest

I am writing this post from Placitas, Sandoval County, New Mexico in the USA where we have leased property for our family holiday gathering. I share the grief of our Polish brethren in the attack PiS has launched on the basic democracy of Poland. But I have to say my Polish friends back in Chicago which has a massive Polish population are largely right wing Pi!S, SRP, or LRP supporters. In general they seem to support what is called a social market economy or in German soziale Marktwirtschaft. They have a very pessimistic perspective about Poland’s transformation, yet curiously express great hostility towards Russian and claim to be anti-communists.

I simply don’t understand Polish Catholicism or apparently some of the communal agricultural traditions imbedded in the Church. None the less most of these Poles who frequently return to Poland and own property there seem to feel there vast numbers of secret communist collaborators in the judiciary who needed to be purged. I do not understand that perspective, but I do know one of the writers for the Chicago based Dziennik Związkowy has expressed the same idea to me, it seemed highly conspiratorial to me.

Observer
Guest

Istvan,
It’s the same everywhere, you just pick a label “Bad” and stick it onto your opponents. In Pol and Hun they use mainly the worn out “Communist” one, although there is a new design – “Liberal” which is used largely in the US too. (A tip: ask what liberal do they mean – social or economic as they are very different. Great confusion follows)

Guest

And this says a lot about the *expletive deleted* – because Liberté was the first word in the French Revolution!
But these people want to go back to the Middle Ages when everybody knew their place and it was ok to torture and kill heretics, witches, gays etc …
I often wonder what’s the basic problem with these “Christian” people – is it that they can’t adjust to our modern times where everything changes so fast (too fast for them)?

Ferenc
Guest

“often wonder what’s the basic problem with these “Christian” people””
…may be they still regret that the earth (with the heaven above) isn’t FLAT…

Guest

please, brother,don’t even mention that! 🙂
I remember that a few years ago there was a Hungarina “scientist” who tried to prove the flat earth theory by shinig a laser from the Northern Balaton shore to the Southern shore …
Having studied maths and physics I shuddered at the way his results were presented!

Ferenc
Guest

OT – question to The Pole
Currently all talk about Poland is concerning the judicial system and the ‘rule of law’. But I have a completely different question.
Some time ago the EC published “State of Health in the EU” incl.”Health Profiles” for all member states. I have started to compare these for the V4 countries.
Preliminary conclusion that in healthcare in almost all respects Poland is performing way better than Hungary with less spending (per capita) and relatively less health care workers.
Although mentioned the ‘informal payments’ are not quantified for Poland (in Hungary, the ‘halapenz’ is estimated at 2.1% of total healthcare spending).
Do you know, or can you direct me, to data about ‘informal healthcare payments’ in Poland?
Furthermore is it an (political) issue in Poland? Are there plans to try to reduce it?

There are many similar problems with healthcare in both countries, e.g.behavioral risk factors (smoking, alcohol, obese; though all in PL a little lower than in HU), shortage of health professionals (many left to the west).
BUT one thing is clearly different: the healthcare system in Poland is decentral, while in Hungary it’s central (and what seems worse, is continuously more and more centralized under OV&Co)

Ferenc
Guest

OT
new US ambassador (by djT) in Holland, watch this: https://twitter.com/trbrtc/status/943991312570822656
and let’s see how long he will last…

Ferenc
Guest

The man himself has put his “apology” on twitter…
…recommended to read and then check the comments…
my opinion: there are already more than enough liars in Europe, no need for one more, best he lies/lays down his head where it belongs…

Ferenc
Guest
Guest

The comments on twitter from the Netherlands on this Trump-loonie are hilarious!
You made my day!

Ferenc
Guest

RE: TAO money and overpricing
A few days ago I commented about “baffling corruption”, this was based on an article and report about the methods used in Hungarian Public Procurement.
Well these methods are not limited there, but applied everywhere, where OV&Co have a hand in, so for sure also in the TAO system, as follows:
1.get tax reduction for TAO sponsoring
2.overprice works done with TAO funding
3.shift overpriced value into “buddies pockets”
Thorough independent investigations what is/will be done with all that “money in buddies pockets” very URGENT!!

PS: repeat here link to original report and article
http://168ora.hu/itthon/elkepeszto-mennyisegu-penzt-2-3-ezer-milliard-forintot-sullyesztettek-el-magyarorszagon-a-haverok-zsebebe-14228
http://www.crcb.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/eu_hpp_2016_report_170616_.pdf

Ferenc
Guest

Many media are now jumping on the (overpriced) kitchenette(s), which costs are in reality peanut(s) in the total TAO scheme.
Showing the peanut(s) to try to hide the (financially) bigger and more important items, is a well-proven method in offers to get the highest price through… unnoticed…

bimbi
Guest

The constant propaganda of the Rogan/Orban machine repeats the lie of how well the economy is doing. As today’s blog entry clearly shows, the German vehicle producers are doing very well with their cheap labour and imported technology, the Fidesz oligarchs are doing very well with their exorbitant pricing and single bidder contracts and the Penztaros/Orban mega rip-off organization is doing exceptionally well (better than everyone in fact).

No surprise that that leaves the usual 40% of the Hungarian population in poverty. One wonders what the economy minister – what is his name again? – does all day, sudokus?

Like the advertisement hoardings said in the summer:
YOU WORK, THEY STEAL.
And do they ever! Rogan alone made €1,200,000,000 (that’s right € 1,2 billion!) from the residency permit scam – an illegal scheme introduced by the Fidesz government to steal from their own Hungarian state.
YOU WORK, THEY STEAL.

wrfree
Guest

The pix comes off as sleek modernist. Design as ‘Felcsuthaus’ where surface hides the termite eaten floors and broken brick walls. You are where you eat.

Observer
Guest

The actual economic trends are worse than the poor figures here reveal. We have to take into account that :
– the lion’s share of the EU cohesion funds have been going to Hun companies for a decade,
– these funds were supposed to be used for development, but any case they boost the companies’ performance, on paper at least.
– in 2017/18 the gov is pushing for max absorbtion of funds, according to I.Czillag they are aiming at a rate of over 8% of GDP (compare to 6-7% in 2014-15).
This means that in the best of circumstances the “nemzeti” part of the Hun economy is falling behind the foreign part (and against the regionals competitors too). What will happen when the next crisi strikes?
I can’t tell whether this tragic results are due to :
– the staggering corruption draining ~2% GDP from the local business,
– the political distortions of the markets, or
– the counter selection in cadres resulting in gross incompetence and mismanagement.
My bet is – a thick mixture of all three.