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1 Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 17 March (mind)  363 sor     (cikkei)
2 Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 14 March (mind)  474 sor     (cikkei)
3 Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 16 March (mind)  501 sor     (cikkei)
4 Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 13 March (mind)  652 sor     (cikkei)

+ - Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 17 March (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)


from the Daily Bulletin of the Hungarian News Agency MTI
distributed by the Department for Press and International Information
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Hungary

H-1394, Budapest P.O.B. 423.
Telephone: 36 (1) 156-8000
Telefax: 36 (1) 156-3801
No. 55/1995                                                             17 Marc
h 1995

Romanian-Hungarian Treaty will not be signed

        Budapest, March 16 (MTI) - Romania and Hungary will not sign a basic
treaty before the European Stability Conference due to open in Paris on
Monday, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and Hungarian
Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs told reporters here today.

        However, both sides expressed a readiness to resume consultations at
expert level as soon as possible.

        Kovacs said the question of European norms relating to minority rights
was still unresolved; more exactly agreement had still not been reached on
which European documents should be mentioned as the international legal
source in the basic treaty.

        Kovacs mentioned in this regard recommendation No 1201 passed by
the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This document contains
the right of ethnic minorities to found local autonomous organizations.

        While in the Hungarian view this document, either in detail or with a
passing reference, should be mentioned in the basic treaty, the Romanian
view is that recommendation No 1201 was just part of a process, whose "end
product" was the minority framework agreement passed by the Council of
Europe. (This no longer mentions the autonomy of minorities.)

        Bucharest says this is what should be contained in the basic treaty.

Defence Committee Chairman on Bonn Trip

        Budapest, March 16 (MTI) - Imre Mecs, chairman of Parliament's
Defence Committee, says those defence leaders who are often featured in the
Hungarian mass media and who are too critical, should think twice before
making such comments, since they are harmful from the viewpoint of
Hungary's accession to NATO.

        Mecs spoke about this to reporters in Parliament on Thursday on
returning home from talks in Bonn at the head of a four-man delegation.

        Mecs said Germany believes that the Hungarian defence leaders are
too pessimistic about whether the Hungarian Armed Forces can satisfy
NATO's requirements.

        At the same time Bonn supports Hungary's accession to NATO, and
welcomes the development of ever more intensive ties with the North Atlantic

        Mecs also drew attention to the fact that in Germany's view civilian
control ought to be strengthened over the army, because there are too many
professional soldiers employed at the Defence Ministry.

        Mecs said the establishment of a military ombudsman should also be

        Germany intends to continue shipping various military equipment from
the stocks of the former East German army to Hungary free of charge.

        Mecs concluded by announcing that he would visit Bonn again next
month, this time in the company of Defence Minister Gyorgy Keleti, at the
invitation of German Defence Minister Volker Ruhe.

Presidents of Hungary and Paraguay Hold Talks

        Budapest, March 16 (MTI) - Hungary and Paraguay can link each other
with the major economic communities of which they are members, President
Arpad Goncz and President Juan Carlos Wasmosy told reporters after their
private meeting and also plenary meetings earlier in the day. President
Wasmosy arrived in Hungary on Wednesday.

        President Goncz said Hungary, as an associate member and hopefully
a future full member, could play a bridging role between Paraguay and the
member states of the European Union, and for its part Paraguay - according to
President Wasmosy - could become a bridgehead to the "South American
common market", the other member states of the so-called Mercosur group,
including Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

        President Goncz's spokesman, Andras Farago, told reporters that this
was the first ever visit by a president of Paraguay to Hungary, and the
Hungarian family roots of the president justified his paying special attention
towards this country.

        It was noted at the meeting that bilateral trade was at an extremely lo
level, with a considerable Hungarian surplus. President Wasmosy said trade
between the two countries could be increased by as much as a hundredfold.

        Paraguay is interested in Hungarian agricultural expertise, industrial
products, educational and water research equipment and medicines. President
Wasmosy sees an opportunity for the processing of Paraguayan cattle hides,
soya beans and cooking oil in Hungary.

        Both sides stressed the need for elaborating agreements on investment
protection and trade as soon as possible, and for changing the present partial
exemption from visas into a full exemption.

        President Wasmosy invited Goncz to make an official visit to Paraguay.

        At noon on Thursday in the presence of the two presidents the Minister
of Culture and Education Gabor Fodor, and Foreign Ministry State Secretary
Istvan Szent-Ivanyi signed a Hungarian-Paraguayan cultural agreement and a
foreign ministry consultation accord.

Paraguay May Help Hungary Join MercoSur

        Budapest, March 16 (MTI) - Paraguay will create a chance for Hungary
to join MercoSur, a trade agreement of four Latin American countries with an
aggregate population of 200 million, Paraguayan President Juan Carlos
Wasmosy told an economic conference in the Hungarian Investment and
Trade Promotion Rt. today.

        MercoSur is now composed of Paraguay, Brazil, Argentine and
Uruguay, but, according to Wasmosy, Chile and Bolivia may soon join the

        "Although the market economy of Paraguay has not yet been fully
established, last year the country's rate of inflation was 18 per cent,
particularly low by Latin American standards. This year the rate of inflation
fall below 10 per cent. Paraguay has a stable economy and an economic
policy which gives priority to investment promotion and the establishment of
joint ventures, including ones with Hungary," the Paraguayan president said.

        Last year Hungarian exports to Paraguay amounted to USD 255,000,
and its main export items included light bulbs, locks, and basic
pharmaceuticals. Most recently the Hungarian Transelektro company offered a
USD 10 million credit line for the Paraguayan Electricity Works (ANDE) for the
purchase of electric cables. Metrimpex offered a USD 5 million credit line for
the Ministry of Education of Paraguay. Both companies raised the idea of
purchasing Paraguayan products in exchange for their deliveries.

Goncz Gives Gala Dinner to Paraguayan President

        Budapest, March 16 (MTI) - On the prime minister's proposal, the
Hungarian President has awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the
Republic of Hungary to Juan Carlos Wasmosy, President of the Republic of
Paraguay, in recognition of his role in developing Hungarian-Paraguayan inter-
state relations. President Arpad Goncz honoured Wasmosy in the Parliament
building tonight. The Paraguayan president awarded the Lopez Marshall chain
to President Goncz.

        Tonight Goncz gave a gala dinner in honour of the Paraguayan
president. Goncz spoke in brief about the road covered since the collapse of
communism in Hungary. He emphasized Hungary's obvious effort to become
again an integral part of Europe, from the development of which it was
excluded for half a century.

        Goncz addressed the problems faced by present-day Europe: the lack
of national minority rights, and the local wars endangering the security of
Europe and the entire world.

        Wasmosy, whose Hungarian ancestors emigrated to South America in
the 19th century, recalled his Hungarian roots. "Representing the people of
Paraguay, I have returned here with the desire to promote closer ties between
the two nations. I wish to see Paraguay share the experience Hungary gained
during its fruitful history, with its high level of education, culture, and
industrial, scientific, and technological standards."

        Wasmosy added that, in return, Paraguay would offer the rich human,
natural, and energy resources of a young land which is characterized by
stability and economic opportunity.

Hungarian Socialist Party - Minority Affairs

        Budapest, March 16 (MTI) - Csaba Tabajdi, parliamentary state
secretary for minority affairs at the Prime Minister's Office, regrets that
Romania showed no sign of compromise on making a Hungarian-Romanian
basic treaty. He calls for resumption of talks.

        Tabajdi, also chairman of the party's Central and East European
section, today was at a joint meeting of the section and the National and
Minorities section at HSP headquarters on how Western Europe and the US
related to minority problems in Central and Eastern Europe. The meeting was
a "dress rehearsal" for an international conference, to be held in May, at
foreign and domestic delegates will discuss how the West could better
understand the cases of minorities in Central and Eastern Europe.

        Tibor Varady, former justice minister of the ex-Yugoslavia, shared his
American experiences with participants, and said the US found it hard to
understand the problem of others, since the United States is a country of
immigrants who have to coexist.

        The US can understand the woes of Central and Eastern European
minorities if - for instance - we stress the difference between Hungarian
and the position of Hungary, he said.

Consumer Prices in February - Central Statistical Office

        Budapest, March 16 (MTI) - Consumer prices rose 2.8 per cent in
Hungary in February, the Central Statistical Office says today. Prices rose
per cent from last February.

        Prices went up by 1.4 per cent in February last year, and the annual
increase in consumer prices registered only 16.6 per cent.

        Nearly one-third of the 2.8 per cent price increases last February
resulted from central or local measures.

        Higher prices for energy, telephone fees, district and hot water servic
and local public transport caused the main rise.
        Half of the remaining price increases resulted partly from higher food
prices, and rises for other products and services.

        The price of food went up by about 35 per cent, the largest extent,
compared to figures released a year ago. This is the only area where
increases in prices were higher than the average 23.8 per cent consumer price

        The prices of alcoholic drinks and tobacco products went up by 21.1 per

cent, services 21 per cent, other items and fuels by 20.4 per cent, clothing by
19 per cent, household energy 18.2 per cent, and consumer durables by 14.1
per cent from February 1994.

Alternative Welfare Ministry Proposal for Austerity

        Budapest, March 16 (MTI) - According to the parliamentary and
administrative state secretaries of welfare, there is an alternative to the
austerity package announced by the government on Sunday. Mihaly Kokeny
and Laszlo Harsanyi told the press today that the ministry was working out
proposals for saving the HUF 40 billion the government plans to withdraw from
the family support system.

        The state secretaries said, for instance, that payment obligation shoul
be introduced in clinics and dental care rather than for outpatient care in
general. They did not challenge the necessity or the degree of stabilization
needed but, as Harsanyi put it, they would like to save the government and
themselves from taking measures that may prove to be unviable later.

        Kokeny, speaking for his outgoing minister in the Thursday cabinet
session, said he was optimistic because he saw a degree of understanding
and sympathy concerning some of their proposals.

TV Employees Send Letter to Horn

        Budapest, March 16 (MTI) - In letters addressed today to Prime Minister

Gyula Horn, Speaker of Parliament Zoltan Gal, and the six-party coordination
council on the media law, the Council of Public Employees (CPE) of Hungarian
Television pressed for the immediate start of talks on topical TV issues with
the involvement of all interest associations concerned, including the CPE, the
Council's President Menyhert Dobos told MTI.

        In reply to a question by an MP, Horn told Parliament on Tuesday that
the government, as part of its austerity measures, decided to cut the staff of
Hungarian Television by 1,000. The state television has over 3,000 employees

Talks Between Hungary and IMF End

        Budapest, March 16 (MTI) - An International Monetary Fund (IMF)
delegation ended a series of negotiations in Budapest today.

        The last consultation was between Hungarian Finance Minister Lajos
Bokros and IMF deputy head of department David Burton. The IMF group will
forward its annual country assessment to the IMF Board of Executive
Directors, a Finance Ministry official told MTI today.

        The IMF delegates heard about the economic measures taken by the
government on Sunday. They agreed that the measures were vital for
reducing foreign and domestic indebtedness of the Hungarian economy, and
enabling sustained economic growth. A decrease in the public finance deficit
may help strengthen the private sector and satisfy its demand for credit.
Growth in exports and reduction of effective demand for imports may help
improve the trade balance, crucial for a better international rating for the
country and its solvency.

        Talks will probably resume in May, after bills related to the governmen
measures have cleared Parliament. Then preparations might start for a new
agreement between Hungary and the IMF.

        The delegation met the minister without portfolio in charge of
privatization, and the National Bank of Hungary president.

Cabinet to Give More Publicity to Corruption Cases

        Budapest, March 16 (MTI) - It has not yet been decided whether
Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn will leave for Paris next Monday to
attend the conference on a pact on stability in Europe. His participation
depends on the outcome of his talks in Bratislava today, Government
Spokesman Elemer Csak told a press conference after the Thursday cabinet

        In the session, the prime minister told the cabinet members that he
would meet Slovak Premier Vladimir Meciar in Bratislava in the afternoon to
make a last-ditch attempt at finalizing the bilateral basic treaty yet before
Paris conference.

        Horn announced that the Hungarian-Romanian foreign ministerial
meeting ended inconclusively. The Romanian side retreated on several points
previously agreed at draft treaty expert talks, including clauses from
international documents on human and minority rights.

        The government will check on how its economic package is
implemented. Ministers stressed that the package only defined major
principles and objectives and details were still on the way.

        The government heard a report on the recent session of the national
security cabinet, focussing on ways of suppressing the black economy. The
government instructed the ministries to make proposals for measures in their
scope of authority by March 20.

        The government decided that committees investigating frauds would
inform the public on the most flagrant corruption cases. Concrete cases were
not mentioned in the session, Csak said.

        On the proposal of the minister of environmental protection, the
government amended its decree on the prevention of air pollution and
harmonized industrial emission limits with EU standards.

A tovabbterjesztest a New York-i szekhelyu Magyar Emberi Jogok
Alapitvany tamogatja.

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Reposting is supported by Hungarian Human Rights Foundation News
and Information Service.

+ - Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 14 March (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)


from the Daily Bulletin of the Hungarian News Agency MTI
distributed by the Department for Press and International Information
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Hungary

H-1394, Budapest P.O.B. 423.
Telephone: 36 (1) 156-8000
Telefax: 36 (1) 156-3801
No. 53/1995                                                             14 Marc
h 1995

Somogyi in Bucharest

        Bucharest, March 13 (MTI) - At Hungary's proposal Romanian-
Hungarian negotiations on a basic treaty are to resume in Bucharest on
Tuesday at the state secretary level.

        Ferenc Somogyi, administrative state secretary at the Foreign
Ministry, is heading a delegation which includes Laszlo Labody, chairman
of the Office for Hungarians Beyond the Border, and experts who
coordinated the text of the draft treaty with their Romanian negotiating
partners in past rounds.

        The Romanian delegation is to be headed by foreign affairs state
secretary Marcel Dinu.

        Somogyi and the Hungarian team arrived in Bucharest on Monday
afternoon and will be there until Wednesday.

Slovak Foreign Minister Leaves for Budapest

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk is
due to arrive in Budapest on March 14 to resume high level consultations
on a Hungarian-Slovak draft basic treaty, and hold talks with Hungarian
Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs late Tuesday afternoon, Gabor Szentivanyi,
spokesman at the Foreign Ministry, told MTI on Monday.

Horn Addresses Letter to President Clinton

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - Prime Minister Gyula Horn on Monday
addressed a letter to U.S. President Bill Clinton, the Government
Spokesperson's and Press Office informed MTI.
        "I am looking forward with great expectations to our June meeting in
Washington. I hope that I can provide you with information about the first
results of our measures aimed at stabilizing the economy, and the
advancement of cooperation conducted with our neighbours," said Horn in
the letter.

        In response to a letter dated March 8 and written by President
Clinton, Prime Minister Horn expressed his thanks for the attention that the
American administration has been paying to cooperation between the
Central and East European countries and to preparations for accession in
the Euro-Atlantic community.

        In response to the words of hope expressed by President Clinton
that the basic treaties would soon be concluded by Hungary and its
immediate neighbours, Horn outlined the current state of negotiations now
under way with Slovakia and Romania, stressing that the Hungarian
government has pressed for the conclusion of the basic treaties since it
took office.

        Prime Minister Horn said he was convinced that Hungary's
accession to NATO would further promote stability in Central Eastern
Europe and would not establish yet another divide in Europe.

        Prime Minister Horn recalled that President Yeltsin had also received
the Hungarian intention of accession with understanding, as he was
convinced of this during his visit to Moscow last week.

Prime Minister Horn Addresses Parliament

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - Parliament began a plenary session on
Monday with a speech delivered by Prime Minister Gyula Horn, before
regular issues could be debated.

        He began by saying that Hungary's financial position required the
restrictive measures that were taken at a government meeting on Sunday.
He said that as a result of a process that had been going on for several
years, the country was veering towards an unmanageable crisis.

        In recent years the internal state debt increased from HUF 1,500
billion to HUF 3,800 billion, and the country's interest paying liability went
up from HUF 70 billion to HUF 360 billion.

        He added that the socialist-liberal government did not want to join
those governments that increased the debt by a further HUF 100 billion.

        He said the government wants to stop the adverse process that
would foil the current fragile economic advancement.

        Changes had to be made, Horn continued, because we need
external resources to finance the debt and to launch economic growth, but
we shall only have access to these funds if we put our things in order and
stop the adverse processes.

        The government, with no other option, is taking the necessary
measures, accepts the momentary unpopularity and attacks, and reckons
with the fact that some forces and groups of interests seek to forge political
capital from the current difficult situation.

        The prime minister said the package plan accepted on Sunday
favoured economic growth, and would ensure that the country's potential
functions together with a predictable policy.

        He also added that the social care system could not be maintained in
its present form, and from now on only those will be eligible for family
allowances, child care support and grants for social reasons who are truly
in need of them.

        The government has taken serious measures to curtail state
administrative spending, and wants to take action against the black
economy. Funds thus flowing in will go toward those in need.

        Horn said this government was not to blame for the current situation,
from which there is no other way out than the introduction of the austerity

        The future, according to Horn, should see an act on privatization, a
modernization programme and reform of the public finance sector passed.

        Prime Minister Horn asked the opposition parties, the press, the
interest group of employers and employees, and public opinion to become
partners with the government.

        "One can confront the government, but one cannot confront reality,"
he concluded.

Reactions to Stabilization Measures

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - The Cooperation Forum of Trade Unions
will also join a blue ribbon act of protest, initiated by the Teachers' Trade
Union, on March 17.
        The Forum said in a statement - relayed to MTI - it was asking the
member organizations to express their protest by displaying blue ribbons
and blue pennants, or in other ways, against the planned measures taken
by the government on March 12, which are against the population and
employees. They also demand that the government not pass any decisions
without coordination of interests.

        The Republic Party considers several provisions in the government"s
economic stabilization measures necessary, the party's national
headquarters said in a communique.

        At the same time the Republic Party considers it of grave
shortcomings that the measures do not incorporate a future image. The
party also finds it grievous that there was no consultation prior to the
passing of the decision.

        The Hungarian Agrarian Chamber agrees with the economic
stabilization measures of the administration. Accordingly the measure on
the devaluation will have a positive impact on the agriculture which
produces net foreign currency. The agrarian sector also welcomed the
introduction of an eight per cent customs duty since this measure will curb
imports. It said agricultural producers will vitally need it, as imports have
increased to a value of USD 100 million in recent years.

        The Agrarian Chamber believes it would be more fortunate if some of
the savings were spent by the government on reducing contributions and
taxes, leaving more income with entrepreneurs, and thus laying the
groundwork for economic growth.

Parliament - Debate Before Regular Agenda

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - Jozsef Szajer, head of the parliamentary
group of the Federation of Young Democrats, was the first to take the floor
following Prime Minister Horn's speech earlier today. Szajer said the
government had broken its word, and he attributed the need for passing the
austerity measures to the poor government work over the past eight

        He stressed that the Hungarian Socialist Party's coalition partner, the

Alliance of Free Democrats, "was keeping quiet" although it claimed to be
socially sensitive.

        Tamas Ipsey, head of the parliamentary group of the Christian
Democrats, said the government decision represented a leap into darkness
from an economic point of view, and a disaster from a social angle. He said
the consequences were unpredictable, and one could anticipate the
pauperization of broad sections of society.

        Ivan Peto, chairman of the minor coalition party said: "Nobody can
seriously think that passing such measures could represent joy for any
governing party."
        He added that the country had run out of reserves, prompting the
government to introduce the austerity measures. He denied that the policy
of the past eight months had led to this situation, adding that the previous
decades had brought on the crisis.

        Finally he drew attention to the fact that failure to conclude a social
economic pact did not primarily hinge on the government.

        Jozsef Torgyan, head of the Independent Smallholders Party, said
the government ignored the fact that the nation was preparing to mark
March 15, a national holiday. He called on the prime minister to draw the
necessary consequences, and like his two example-setting ministers,
should resign.

        Ivan Szabo, head of the parliamentary group of the Hungarian
Democratic Forum, described the Horn government as one dedicated to
procrastination and ad-libbing. He sharply criticized the fact that no
analysis had prevented the measures, and that the measures would divide
society into two. He asked all ministers to draw the necessary conclusions.

        Imre Szekeres, head of the Hungarian Socialist Party's parliamentary
group, described what he saw as a slanderous tone in the debate as
unworthy. "The government would be breaking its word if it did not face up
to reality. We shall not absorb the future, we are trying to create some kind
of an opportunity," he said, adding that the concrete measures would be
tabled for consideration by Parliament. "Responsibility is shared, but these
measures could not be delayed any longer," stated Szekeres.

HSP Presidium Backs Government Measures

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - The National Presidium of the Hungarian
Socialist Party unanimously supports the restrictive economic measures
announced at Sunday's Cabinet meeting, and regards the package as
being of historical importance.

        "The party leadership ascribes special importance to the fact that
after many years the government has decided to accept the risk of conflicts
that accompany strict measures and to subordinate the interests of the
coalition to those of the country," deputy executive chairman Sandor
Csintalan told the press after the special session of the HSP presidium on
Monday morning.

        He also said that the presidium - in agreement with the prime
minister - asked Welfare Minister Pal Kovacs and Minister without Portfolio
Bela Katona, in charge of civilian secret services, to stay at their posts and
to continue to participate in the work of the government.

        At the session, Prime Minister Horn indicated that if the ministers did

not insist on resigning, he did not intend to accept their resignations.

        Csintalan said the presidium had heard a report from party chairman
Horn on the decisions made at Sunday's Cabinet meeting.

        Among the party leadership there were serious differences of opinion
on the government's austerity measures, but they finally assured the
government of their support. According to the presidium, the decisions of
the government comply with the demands of the grave economic situation
and lay the foundations for the reform of the state budget and the
stabilization of the economy.

        The presidium called attention to the necessity for appropriate
compensation to the groups most in need and asked everybody to show
self-restraint and understanding.

Former Minister Criticizes Government

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - Judit Csehak, deputy chairperson of the
Hungarian Socialist Party and chairperson of Parliament's Social and
Health Committee, says the government did not fully consider the overall
impact of its Sunday decision on society.

        Csehak, a former minister of public welfare, said the size of the
austerity measures applied to social policy is exaggerated, and the
proficiency of the planned measures is questionable.

        She told MTI on Monday that as she was not involved in the drafting
of the decision either as deputy chairperson or as chairperson, she cannot
be expected to be a party to social acceptance of the measures.

        Csehak said she would not give up the post of chairperson of the
social committee as long as there was hope that in her capacity, she could
influence parliamentary acceptance of the measures.

        She also does not want to give up her post as deputy chairperson of
the Socialist Party, despite the fact that as a responsible political leader
was not notified in time of the decision.

Teachers' Union Criticizes Austerity Package

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - The Democratic Trade Union of
Teachers (DTUT) firmly protests against the government's economic and
social measures, says a DTUT statement sent to MTI on Monday.
        The union considers the package unacceptable because, when
implemented, it would impose an intolerable burden on teachers and
parents, as well as on other wage earners.

        The DTUT demands that the government withdraw its decisions,
which put teachers and pupils into an untenable situation and threaten the
entire system of higher education. (From September, tuition fees of HUF
2,000 a month will be introduced in universities and colleges, with cuts in
staff numbers.)

        At the end of its announcement, the DTUT says it will contact other
trade unions and interest groups with the aim of organizing a mass protest,
to be staged in April.

Two Ministers Confirm Resignation on TV News

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - "Our resignations are final and
irreversible, and we shall release a communique on this tomorrow," said
Bela Katona, minister in charge of secret services, and Pal Kovacs, minister
of welfare, who disagree with the government's stabilization measures.

        TV News reported that the two ministers had called on Prime Minister
Horn earlier in the day. Horn tried to convince them to stay on, but he failed.
The parliamentary group of the Hungarian Socialist Party was also not able
to persuade the two ministers to reverse their decisions.

Free Democrats' Parliament Group Meets

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - The Alliance of Free Democrats says
credit can go to the government only for the firmness it has displayed, but
no credit should go for the fact that it was obliged to take the measures at a
special government meeting on Sunday.

        Nevertheless the Free Democrats - like the presidium of the
Hungarian Socialist Party earlier today - say the stabilization package can
represent a substantive change as compared to the policy pursued so far,
Ivan Peto, head of the parliamentary group and chairman of the Free
Democrats, told reporters on Monday.

        Most of the contributors said that the measures were necessary and
were in line with the programme of the coalition government, and their
austerity was justified by the serious situation.

        Peto said it was regrettable that prior to the acceptance of the
stabilization package entailing serious social consequences, no social and
economic agreement was concluded by the government and the interest
representing organs to try to help ease the burdens.

        He said even in the absence of a social-economic pact, the
government must take measures. The Free Democrats envisage sharp
criticism by the opposition, but cannot accept the accusation that these
measures represent consumption of the future. Quite the contrary: this
package of measures is meant precisely to stop absorbing the future.

Timetable of Stabilization - Ministry's Press Briefing

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - The government expects to see
completion of draft bill amendments before March 30 which will promote the
implementation of stabilization measures. Parliament can then begin
debating these amendments in April. The Finance Ministry does not plan to
draft a supplementary budget for the time being, Finance State Secretary
Tibor Draskovics told media representatives at the Finance Ministry on

        He said implementation of the austerity measures seeks to curb
state spending by nearly HUF 170 billion. Enterprises will have access to
more funds and hopefully there will not be a considerable drop.

        In detailing the planned measures he said introduction of a
supplementary customs duty was expected to fetch HUF 50-55 billion, and
an increased consumer tax levied on passenger cars HUF 4-5 billion. A fee
of examination is meant to be introduced for outpatient care. Those taking
part in special care will have to pay a sum of HUF 500, earnings from which
will reach HUF seven billion.

        The financial administration also seeks to increase the social
insurance earnings by imposing payment of social insurance on practically
all incomes - even allowances in kind. Surplus earnings could reach HUF
12 billion.

        If, according to plans, social insurance revenues increase, then the
rate of allowance could decrease to a low extent from 1996. This will
primarily favour honest, tax-paying enterpreneurs.

        Of determining importance is how the rate of inflation will start
increasing as a result of the austerity measures. Consumer prices are
expected to go up by 24-26 per cent this year. Possibly a low-scale
inflationary explosion will set in two or three months after the introduction
the measures.

        However, in the then ensuing period the rate of price increase will
slow down precisely due to cuts in consumption, and the strict checks on
wage bills. Thus the payment of wages can be curbed, as planned, in the
state administration and state companies. The annual forecast on inflation
can then be kept under control.

        The financial administration does not anticipate a considerable fall of

the GDP because the price of foreign products will go up, and demand will
essentially go up for domestic goods, leading to a vitalization of domestic
products and maintenance of the GDP at the same level as in 1995.

        Consciously the government will increase government investments
with the aim of averting a sharp break in the growth that will have been

Press Briefing by Minister of Culture

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - Minister of Culture Gabor Fodor and
Miklos Vasarhelyi, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Soros
Foundation, signed a four-year agreement on Monday aimed at promoting
the development of public education.

        Later Fodor told reporters that with the agreement the ministry
undertook the coordination of its programme with that of the Foundation,
and thus helped build a nationwide network of information. He also
announced that the Ministry of Culture intended to set up a modernization-
related public foundation in the near future.

        The Soros Foundation has earmarked USD 4.5 million for various
areas of public education, and USD 1.8 million to support those schools
which "creatively" apply computer technology in education.

        Fodor told a journalist that he understood and acknowledged the
position of the Finance Ministry and the prime minister whereby they had
proposed the introduction of a tuition fee in higher education, from
September of this year, in view of the disastrous state of the economy.
Fodor said that in his view it would be unjust if the social state of students
and their accomplishments were ignored.

Trade Unions' Steering Board Issues Communique

        Budapest, March 13 (MTI) - The steering board of the Association of
Hungarian Trade Unions has learnt with shock of the situation that marks
the country's serious financial and economic state of affairs.

        Although the board does not dispute the need for taking measures to
avert more serious consequences than what are at present, it firmly rejects
the pronounced or inspired views that the trade unions are responsible for
the current situation, since the government has declined making decisions
because of their actions. Among other components, this comprises a
communique released by the board to MTI on Monday.

        It said that in the present serious situation the circumspection with
which the government ought to have taken the measures to remedy the
woes is vital.

        Therefore the board considers the social plans outlined by the
administration unacceptable. At the same time the board proposes that the
Interest Coordination Council not hold a meeting this week.

        Such a meeting should take place only after the social partners have
hammered out their own positions.

        For its part, the Association of Hungarian Trade Unions will try to
work out proposals that can provide economically reasonable and socially
acceptable answers to questions of equilibrium and social problems.

        Finally the board stated that unless a substantive agreement is
reached on wages and social affairs through appropriate calculations and
effective examinations, then the Association of Hungarian Trade Unions will
go the length of staging strikes.

A tovabbterjesztest a New York-i szekhelyu Magyar Emberi Jogok
Alapitvany tamogatja.

           [*]   [*]  [*]   [*]  [*][*]    [*][*][*]
           [*]   [*]  [*]   [*]  [*]  [*]  [*]
           [*][*][*]  [*][*][*]  [*][*]    [*][*] 
           [*]   [*]  [*]   [*]  [*]  [*]  [*]    
           [*]   [*]  [*]   [*]  [*]   [*] [*]

Reposting is supported by Hungarian Human Rights Foundation News
and Information Service.

+ - Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 16 March (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)


from the Daily Bulletin of the Hungarian News Agency MTI
distributed by the Department for Press and International Information
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Hungary

H-1394, Budapest P.O.B. 423.
Telephone: 36 (1) 156-8000
Telefax: 36 (1) 156-3801
No. 54/1995                                                             16 Marc
h 1995

Hungarian-Romanian Negotiations-Basic Treaty

        Bucharest, March 14 (MTI) - Another round of Hungarian-Romanian
talks on the basic treaty began at the Romanian Foreign Ministry.

        The Hungarian delegation is headed by Ferenc Somogyi,
administrative state secretary at the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, and the
Romania experts are led by State Secretary Marcel Dinu.

        Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and State secretary Dinu
received Somogyi and Gyorgy Szenasi, head of the international legal
department at the Hungarian Foreign Ministry on Monday evening.

        Szenasi led a group of experts preparing for Tuesday's round of

        Hungarian diplomatic sources recalled that the two sides had agreed
on the text of the basic treaty with the exception of a single provision -
dealing with ethnic minorities - , which means that at Tuesday's round of
talks, apart from seeking a solution to this unresolved problem, agreement
could be reached on the final shape of the text to be adopted. As regards
the disputed 15th provision, the two sides mainly disagree on including
recommendation No 1201, worked out by the parliamentary assembly of
the Council of Europe: while the Hungarian side considers this necessary,
the Romanian side rejects it.

        Recommendation No 1201 mentions the possibility of establishing
autonomous local authorities for national minorities or for granting them
special status in places where they are in the majority.

Horn Meets Hungarian Bishops of Transylvania

        Budapest, March 14 (MTI) - In its basic treaty with Romania, the
Hungarian government will not abandon its principles related to the
Hungarian community and churches in Transylvania, Hungarian Prime
Minister Gyula Horn assured Hungarian Catholic Church dignitaries of
Transylvania in Budapest today.

        In its talks on the Hungarian-Romanian basic treaty, Hungary should
ask the Romanian government to guarantee that it will start returning
church property, provide financial support for the reopening of church
schools, and approve the cultural law, which will regulate the operation of
churches, Jozsef Tempfli, Bishop of Oradea, told reporters after the

        Archbishop of Alba Iulia Gyorgy Jakubinyi quoted Horn as saying
that Hungary would not conclude the basic treaty at any price, would never
leave the Council of Europe's recommendation no. 1201 out of the treaty,
and would make every effort so that the treaty should reflect the
expectations of ethnic Hungarians in Romania.

        Hungarian Government Spokesman Elemer Csak added that the
prime minister would like to hold regular consultations with the church
leaders. In the meeting, Horn spoke about preparations for the basic
treaties and recalled that, since the beginning of talks, the issue of ethnic
Hungarian minorities had become in the focus of international interest.
Prominent politicians are dealing with the question which raises hopes that
the problems will be solved sooner or later, he said.

Melescanu to Arrive in Hungary on Thursday

        Bucharest, March 14 (MTI) - The Tuesday round of Hungarian-
Romanian expert talks and the negotiations between Romanian Foreign
Minister Teodor Melescanu and Hungarian Administrative State Secretary
of Foreign Affairs Ferenc Somogyi failed to close the gap between the two
sides' position on the clause regulating minority rights in the basic treaty.
For this reason, the two foreign ministers are to meet later this week,
Somogyi told MTI tonight.

        Melescanu is to arrive in Budapest on Thursday at the invitation of
his counterpart Laszlo Kovacs to continue negotiations on the treaty.

        Melescanu told Bucharest Television, "I have agreed with Somogyi
that the present conditions are favourable for signing the treaty, which
would serve the interests of both countries, contribute to their integration
into Europe and give a boost to the development of their relations."

        Somogyi welcomed that the Romanian side had promised to open
three reconstructed border crossing points by June at the latest.

Hungarian-Slovak Basic Treaty

        Budapest, March 14 (MTI) - The Hungarian-Slovak basic treaty was
one of several subjects covered at the weekly foreign affairs spokesman's
press briefing today.

        Spokesman Gabor Szentivanyi confirmed that Slovak Foreign
Minister Juraj Schenk would arrive in Budapest this afternoon, and after
meeting his Hungarian counterpart Laszlo Kovacs, there will be a press
conference in the evening.

        A sign of the flurry of diplomatic activity over the basic treaties is
Foreign Ministry Administrative State Secretary Ferenc Somogyi has
cancelled a visit to Africa.

        Somogyi through his intensive shuttle diplomacy is trying to make
progress on the Hungarian-Slovak and Hungarian-Romanian basic treaties.

        As regards the Hungarian-Slovak basic treaty, Szentivanyi said that
the two sides had practically put the final touches to the text, which contains
different "options", at last weekend's consultations.

        He ruled out, therefore, the need for meticulous consultations
between experts. He said the different options allow the politicians - at
foreign minister or at even higher level - to select the appropriate formula.

        The spokesman stressed that recommendation 1201 passed by the
Council of Europe, continues to be in force, as this is one of the documents
regulating European norms.

        The difference of opinion between Hungary and Slovakia over a
provision of the treaty relating to national minorities came to a head over
this recommendation, since it mentions the right of ethnic minorities to form
local autonomous organizations.

        The spokesman said a decision whether to arrange a meeting
between the Hungarian and Slovak prime ministers would be made after
the meeting between the two foreign ministers.

        Earlier, both Gyula Horn and Vladimir Meciar had expressed their
readiness to meet.

        As regards a future venue for a meeting, Szentivanyi said the two
prime ministers should obviously meet at some halfway point, perhaps
somewhere near Komarom.

        The second half of this week had earlier been set as a possible date,
and the way things look, the meeting could take place on Thursday.

Premiers Should Discuss Hungarian-Slovak Treaty

        Budapest, March 14 (MTI) - The Hungarian and Slovak foreign
ministers today reached a preliminary agreement that premiers Gyula Horn
of Hungary and Vladimir Meciar of Slovakia may meet somewhere on the
border on Thursday afternoon. The announcement was made by the two
countries" foreign ministers, Laszlo Kovacs and Juraj Schenk, in an
impromptu press conference in Budapest tonight.

        Earlier, the ministers consulted for one and a half hours in the
Foreign Ministry. They surveyed affairs which remained open after the
recent expert consultation, including issues related to the Hague trial, the
Danube, and succession to the Czechoslovak state.

        "In the basic treaty, we should find formulas which do not prejudice
the Hague trial," Kovacs said.

        The open issues of national minorities require a political decision by
the prime ministers, he said.

        The Hungarian side proposed that the two prime ministers should
meet on the border on Thursday. Schenk confirmed Slovakia's
preparedness to negotiate the still pending issues, adding that they would
spare no effort to find a solution.

Horn-Meciar, Kovacs-Melescanu Talks on Thursday

        Budapest, March 15 (MTI) - Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor
Melescanu will arrive in Budapest on Thursday morning, Hungarian Foreign
Affairs Spokesman Gabor Szentivanyi told MTI today. Melescanu and his
Hungarian counterpart Laszlo Kovacs are to start negotiations in the
Foreign Ministry at 9 a.m., he added.

        Talks on the Hungarian-Slovak basic treaty will be resumed on the
highest level tomorrow, the spokesman said. Hungary proposed that prime
ministers Gyula Horn of Hungary and Vladimir Meciar of Slovakia should
meet in Komarno, Slovakia, on Thursday afternoon but the coordination of
the meeting is still under way, Szentivanyi said.

        Melescanu's visit to Budapest and the planned Hungarian-Slovak
prime ministerial meeting in Komarno may mark the finish of preparations
for the basic treaties that are crucial for Hungary and, in view of the
increasingly keen international interest, for Central Europe as a whole. All
the three countries still seem to be committed to signing the treaties yet
before the Paris conference on stability in Europe begins next Monday.
Hungary's diplomatic activity also reflects what senior Foreign Ministry
officials repeatedly confirmed in the past few days: Hungary will make every
effort - until the very last moment - to find versions acceptable to all sides

        In a matter of three years, until late 1993 Hungary signed basic
treaties with 15 states. The treaty concluded with Ukraine in late 1991 was
particularly important for Hungary because it contained, as a precedent,
mutually acceptable clauses on borders and the situation of national
minorities, both being crucial security policy issues. The document provided
an important basis of reference for the Hungarian diplomacy at various
international fora. The declaration on minorities attached to the treaty was
particularly important from the point of view of Hungary's national interests.

        The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the drama in former
Yugoslavia confirmed Hungary's original position that the protection of
ethnic groups and national minorities is an integral component of
international security. On this score, both the conservative governments of
Jozsef Antall and Peter Boross and the Socialist-liberal cabinet that came to
power after the 1994 elections started from the fact that no analysis on
security can evade the minority issue or dilute it in the more general
category of human rights. So far the international organizations have
usually adopted a passive position on minority affairs. This is why the
majority of plans drafted in Europe guaranteed the borders but failed to
specify minority rights in detail. Unlike the view which considers the
existence of minorities as a source of danger, the Hungarian approach
emphasizes that just the absence of appropriate guarantees for minority
rights entails a security policy risk.

        The problem has become a watershed in political debates about the
Hungarian-Romanian and Hungarian-Slovak basic treaties. According to
the Hungarian bargaining position, the problems of ethnic Hungarian
minorities can no longer be settled reassuringly if the scope of their
autonomy is not specified appropriately.

Basic Treaties - Parliamentary Committees

        Budapest, March 14 (MTI) - Parliament's Committee on European
Integration Affairs and Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday held a joint
closed meeting at the initiative of Viktor Orban, chairman (Federation of
Young Democrats) of the former committee, and heard Foreign Minister
Laszlo Kovacs give a report on the Hungarian-Romanian and Hungarian-
Slovak basic treaties.

        Kovacs told media representatives after the meeting that no new
arguments had been raised for or against the basic treaties.

        Kovacs said he had told the MPs that the basic treaties were not
important because Hungary wanted to make a gesture at any price toward
the European Union or NATO but because good basic treaties
corresponded to the country's security interests since they strengthened
stability in the region.

        He said the treaties also corresponded to Hungary's interests as
they would improve better conditions for economic cooperation.

        "If these three countries can normalize their relations in a European
way, it can serve as a kind of evidence to prove that Hungary, Slovakia and
Romania are mature for European integration and for accession to NATO,"
Kovacs added.

        He said it was an open question until the very last moment as to
whether there would be basic treaties, since - although Hungary was
striving to sign honorable treaties - it could not speak on behalf of its
negotiating partners.

        Kovacs said that if the basic treaties could not be signed for reasons
beyond Hungary's control and for reasons resulting from the conduct of its
negotiating partners, "the world would not collapse".

        In that case the Hungarian foreign ministry would have to size up
how to negotiate in an effort to normalize relations with the other two
neighbouring countries.

        Orban later told reporters that on behalf of the Federation of Young
Democrats he called on the Hungarian government not to sign a basic
treaty that repeals the Benes decree that had pronounced the collective
crime of Hungarians.

        Orban said there was no doubt that Western Europe expected
Hungarian, Slovak and Romanian foreign policy to conclude the basic
treaties, and they were under a kind of pressure but - as he put it - the
Hungarian politicians should listen to their own conscience, and not to
instructions carried in letters from the west.

        Orban called for settling the minority issue, but the key of the soluti
lay with the Slovak and Romanian sides, and nothing justified the too fast

Foreign Affairs Spokesman's Briefing

        Budapest, March 14 (MTI) - Swiss Foreign Minister Flavio Cotti is
due to arrive in Budapest on Friday, March 17 to take part in an OSCE
Troika (Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary) meeting of foreign ministers.

        Cotti will conduct talks with his Hungarian counterpart, Foreign
Minister Laszlo Kovacs, pay courtesy calls on President Arpad Goncz and
Prime Minister Gyula Horn, Foreign Affairs Spokesman Gabor Szentivanyi
told reporters today.

        He said that, on Monday, Kovacs had informed the ambassadors of
the European Union in Budapest about recent Hungarian diplomatic
activity, such as Prime Minister Horn's visit to Russia and Kazakhstan,
Hungarian efforts to resolve regional conflicts and the ongoing negotiations
on the basic treaties.

        Szentivanyi announced that Ireland intends to open an embassy in
Budapest and that the Hungarian Foreign Ministry welcomed this step.

        Hungary and Ireland established diplomatic relations in 1976, but
links between the two countries were at first low level and were restricted to
diplomatic formalities.

        The democratic changes in Hungary contributed to the development
of bilateral relations and Hungary established an embassy in Dublin.

        Relations between the two countries are free from problems and
there are good prospects for intensifying them.

        This year, President Goncz will pay an official visit to Ireland.

        The spokesman also announced that Hungary had established
diplomatic relations with the Principality of Andorra.

Petition for Direct Election of President

        Budapest, March 14 (MTI) - Independent Smallholders' Party (ISP)
Chairman Jozsef Torgyan on Tuesday presented to Speaker of Parliament
Zoltan Gal a petition signed by 215,840 Hungarians demanding the direct
election of the president of Hungary. The signatures have been collected by
the ISP since early February.

        Torgyan told reporters that it would be inadmissible for the president
to be elected by parliamentary parties rather than the people.

Outgoing Welfare Minister - Press Conference

        Budapest, March 14 (MTI) - The package of measures announced
by the government is against the welfare of society and is therefore
unacceptable, outgoing Minister of Welfare Pal Kovacs told a press
conference in Budapest today.

        The planned measures are incompatible with both the
recommendations of the recent World Summit for Social Development and
the position of the European Union's committee of welfare and economy,
Kovacs said. For this reason, he asked Prime Minister Gyula Horn to
discharge him of his duties with immediate effect. Since Horn failed to react
to his request, the minister will repeatedly announce his intention in the
March 16 cabinet session and ask the prime minister for a comment.

        Since the Sunday decision has been in the air for some months,
Kovacs compiled a set of arguments based on facts and figures to prove
that the government's welfare policy had taken a wrong course. His efforts,
however, failed and decisions on welfare and health affairs were eventually
made by financiers rather than specialists, Kovacs said.

        The Finance Ministry's social-welfare plans are unrealizable and
would lay a serious burden on society, Kovacs said. The outgoing minister
sharply criticized the government's plan that employers should have to
cover the sickness pay of their employees for 25 instead of 10 days, and
that a fee for outpatient care should be introduced. "Should the sickness
leave financed this way increase from 10 to 25 days, it will be up to the
employers to decide if they pay anything in the first five days of sickness.
This measure will obviously hit the poor and the seriously ill," he said.

        "I want to work as an MP as long as I sees any chance to do
anything in the interest of social welfare and the health sector," he said.
Concerning his membership in the Hungarian Socialist Party, he said, "Now
I will have to reconsider how I can realize socialist values in the party."

        The Welfare Ministry's press office said that Kovacs and Bela
Katona, minister in charge of the civilian secret services, would issue a joint
statement on Thursday rather than today as planned.

        Protesting against the package, Katona also announced his
resignation in the Sunday cabinet session.

Horn Accepts Resignation of Two Ministers

        Budapest, March 14 (MTI) - Prime Minister Gyula Horn has accepted
the resignation of Pal Kovacs, Minister of Welfare, and Bela Katona,
Minister in charge of the civilian secret services, Hungarian Television said

        Both ministers announced their resignation in the March 12 cabinet
session to express their disagreement with the government's financial
stabilization package which they described as measures against the
welfare of society.

        According to Hungarian Television, the prime minister has
candidates for both posts but has not yet named them.

Paraguayan President Arrives in Hungary

        Budapest, March 15 (MTI) - Juan Carlos Wasmosy, President of the
Republic of Paraguay, arrived in Hungary on a three-day official visit today
at the invitation of President Arpad Goncz.

        The Paraguayan delegation first visited Esztergom to meet Cardinal
Laszlo Paskai, Primate of Hungary and Archbishop of Esztergom-
Budapest. After a cordial consultation, Wasmosy saw the sights of the
town, including the Christian Museum and the Basilica.

        Later on, the Paraguayan president left for Debrecen, the east
Hungarian city where his ancestors had lived until the early 19th century.

        At the town hall, Wasmosy and his entourage were greeted by Mayor
Jozsef Hevessy, who presented him documents on his ancestors.

        Wasmosy expressed his thanks with emotional words. He said,
"stepping on the land of my ancestors, I have reached the end of a

National Holiday - President Goncz

        Budapest, March 15 (MTI) - The central commemoration of the
anniversary of the 1848-49 Revolution and War of Independence was
attended by thousands in the garden of the National Museum today.

        Those present included Prime Minister Gyula Horn, Speaker of
Parliament Zoltan Gal, several ministers and MPs, and representatives of
the diplomatic corps.
        After a brief artistic programme, President Arpad Goncz appeared on
the top of the stairs. The initial booing and hissing heard from the rear
section of the crowd was gradually subdued by loud applause. The
intermezzo lasted for a few seconds, then the president began his speech.

        "Almost one and a half centuries ago the Hungarian nation, together
with other European peoples, started a glorious revolution to gain
independence, modernize its economy and promote social progress.
Although the revolution was suppressed, it proved to be victorious in its
long-term consequences, and always testified the unyielding strength of the
nation," he said.

        Goncz appreciated the historic significance and the still valid lessons

of the 1848-49 events. He pointed out that the Hungarian nation had
struggled for social and economic modernization, democracy, freedom and
national independence.

        "Although the revolution was eventually suppressed, it has been
seen as a model and a source of energy for nearly one and a half
centuries. It carries the lesson that all changes inherent in the womb of time
can only be realized through painful struggle and sacrifice, no matter
whether society is already ripe for them. Their realization requires
determination and confidence in the future, even if not an armed struggle."

Talks on Minority Aspects of Basic Treaties

        Budapest, March 15 (MTI) - It would provide a serious chance for the
protection of ethnic Hungarians abroad if the political commitments laid
down in international documents were included in the Hungarian-Romanian
and Hungarian-Slovak basic treaties because this way they would become
legally binding commitments. Csaba Tabajdi, Parliamentary State Secretary
of the Prime Minister's Office, told MTI that this was confirmed in his
Wednesday talks with Max van der Stoel, High Commissioner on National
Minorities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE), tonight.

        The unscheduled meeting focussed on the minority aspects of the
Hungarian-Romanian and Hungarian-Slovak basic treaties.

        The basic treaties should contain the commitments specified in the
Copenhagen Document, the related UN declaration and other international
documents. All this would only provide a legal framework to be filled with
content through further persistent minority-protecting efforts by the ethnic
Hungarian communities, the Hungarian state, and the international
organizations. It is important that the international control mechanisms of
the Council of Europe and the OSCE should be authorized to be
institutionally engaged in settling minority problems arising in bilateral
relations. Tabajdi stressed that this would provide an effective guarantee for
ethnic Hungarian minorities.

        Tabajdi asked Max van der Stoel to make further recommendations
on minorities for the countries in the region including Romania and

A tovabbterjesztest a New York-i szekhelyu Magyar Emberi Jogok
Alapitvany tamogatja.

           [*]   [*]  [*]   [*]  [*][*]    [*][*][*]
           [*]   [*]  [*]   [*]  [*]  [*]  [*]
           [*][*][*]  [*][*][*]  [*][*]    [*][*] 
           [*]   [*]  [*]   [*]  [*]  [*]  [*]    
           [*]   [*]  [*]   [*]  [*]   [*] [*]

Reposting is supported by Hungarian Human Rights Foundation News
and Information Service.

+ - Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 13 March (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)


from the Daily Bulletin of the Hungarian News Agency MTI
distributed by the Department for Press and International Information
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Hungary

H-1394, Budapest P.O.B. 423.
Telephone: 36 (1) 156-8000
Telefax: 36 (1) 156-3801
No. 52/1995
                13 March 1995

Government Moves to Stabilize Economy

        Budapest, March 12 (MTI) - At
its special session on Sunday, the Hungarian government made several
decisions to consolidate the economy. The prime minister, the finance
minister and the president of the National Bank of Hungary (NBH)
explained the measures at a press conference.

        Prime Minister Gyula Horn said
if deterioration can be halted, positive economic processes may set off
within one or one and a half years.

        Finance Minister Lajos Bokros
reported that the NBH - in agreement with the government - had devalued
the forint by nine per cent as of March 13. At the same time, the bank will
amend the practice of exchange rate fixing, switching to previously
announced rate adjustments. By the end of this year, the forint will have lost
about 26-27 per cent of its current value.

        In an attempt to curb imports,
from March 20 the government will introduce a duty surcharge of eight per
cent, which will be effective until the middle of 1997. Foreign exchange
regulations will be changed so as to allow entrepreneurs to keep foreign
exchange accounts at domestic banks, with the expected result of less
speculation and inflationary anticipation.

        To control domestic demand,
the government will set a limit on wage increases for state companies and
budgetary institutions, as well as cutting budget expenditure by, among
other things, supervising the functions of ministries and national authorities.

        The government also proposes
urgent amendments to the law on public employees and civil servants, with
changes in the regime of severance pay, exemption fee, jubilee bonuses
and other benefits. It plans major workforce reductions to be carried out
parallel to re-examining the tasks of governmental administration.

        From September this year, a
monthly tuition fee of HUF 2,000 will be introduced in higher education
institutions, with cuts in the number of lecturers.

        The social systems will also
undergo changes. According to the intentions of the government, the family
allowance would in the future be paid only to those who truly need it and
whose circle will be determined later on. Local councils would get HUF 9
billion from the government this year to distribute among people hit hard by
these changes. From January 1, 1996, the government also wishes to
place the system of support for children on a new footing.

        The government is ready to
hold talks with the Interest Coordination Council, but can imagine only
certain regroupings in the decided measures.

Prime Minister Trusts Wisdom of Society

        Budapest, March 12 (MTI) -
"We have made our decisions with a heavy heart," Prime Minister Gyula
Horn told the TV news programme "A Het" (The Week) on Sunday evening,
after measures approved by today's special cabinet session for economic
stabilization were made public.

        "However, if we want to start
out on the road of well-founded economic growth and create new jobs,
these steps cannot be avoided," he added.

        Answering a question, the
prime minister said he was not afraid of growing social tensions being
"taken to the street", that is of strikes, adding, "I trust the wisdom of
and its mature thinking."

        Horn confirmed TV information
that Welfare Minister Pal Kovacs said at the end of the cabinet meeting he
no longer considered himself a member of the government. "I hope he will
change his mind," Horn added.

        Minister without Portfolio Bela
Katona, in charge of civilian secret services, also announced he would
resign for not being informed in time about the planned measures, some of
which he disapproved.

Finnish and Hungarian Presidents Give Lecture

        Budapest, March 10 (MTI) -
Martti Ahtisaari and his Hungarian counterpart, Arpad Goncz, jointly opened
an international seminar in Budapest on Friday, the third and final day of
the Finnish president's official visit to Hungary. The conference, entitled
Regional Cooperation - Northern and Central European experiences in
European Integration, was organized by the Hungarian Institute of Foreign

        Ahtisaari said the Central
European changes had posed new challenges to the European economic
and security system and the countries of Eastern Europe.

        Associate European Union
members seeking full membership of the organization stand to benefit a lot
from the experiences of Northern European states, he added.

        Goncz stressed that Hungary
as a small country has a vital interest in maintaining good relations with its
neighbours and tapping possibilities inherent in cooperation with them.

        Today all states in a continent
have to join forces if they want to give appropriate answers to international
economic, security and social challenges, he said.

        The Hungarian president
pointed out that over the past decades Hungary had belonged to an
integration, which was unfavourable for it. At the same time, he continued,
Hungary experienced that integration organizations in the western half of
Europe were able to ensure security, economic development and
competitiveness to their members without harming their national interests.

        For this reason, Hungary is
equally led to join the Euroatlantic integration by a requirement to preserve
its independence and sovereignty, carry out modernization and honour its
responsibility for the future of the new generation, Goncz said.

        Hungary regards the northern
states as a model, where borders are open, there is tolerance towards the
minorities and countries are able to cooperate at international forums, he

Ahtisaari Visits Budapest Mayor

        Budapest, March 10 (MTI) -
Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari called on Budapest Mayor Gabor
Demszky in his office today and received from him the symbolic key of the
Town Hall as a token of friendship between the two akin peoples.

        Demszky said the two nations
were being linked by a commitment for European peace and security, in
addition to similarities in their histories.

President Ahtisaari Leaves - Holds Press Briefing

        Budapest, March 10 (MTI) -
President Martti Ahtisaari of Finland on Friday ended his official visit to

        He said Finnish trade to
Hungary shows a surplus, a trend that was reversed for ten years.

        He stressed that Finland,
through its activity in the European Union, can support Hungary's attempts
to join. He said his country's EU membership will not cause problems in
trade with Hungary despite the free trade agreement expiring between the
two countries.
        He said that excepting some
sensitive groups of goods, Hungarian exports bound for Finland would be
exempt from customs duties precisely resulting from his country's EU

        President Ahtisaari had talks
with Prime Minister Gyula Horn, and later he held a joint press conference
with President Goncz.

        Regarding NATO he said his
country was not striving to achieve NATO membership, but he was sure
that it was the right of each state to decide on questions affecting their

        President Goncz said
Hungary's intention to join NATO had been discussed at the meeting, and
the two sides accepted each other's position with mutual understanding
without qualifying it.

        Asked what concrete
assistance Finland could give to promote Hungary's EU accession,
President Ahtisaari said Finland had very useful advice about how to
negotiate and on what to focus one's attention.

        President Goncz described the
negotiations as very cordial, and he said that it was natural between
relatives to sincerely discuss both woes and future plans. President
Ahtisaari also described his visit to, and talks in Hungary, as extremely

        He said it was appropriate to
raise the question what the notion "sister people" represented.

        He described as targets
achieved during his visit the continuation of special Finnish-Hungarian talks,
the transfer of experience on EU membership and prior negotiations, and
an exchange of views on security and economic policy changes.

Prime Minister Horn's Reply to European Leaders

        Budapest, March 10 (MTI) -
Prime Minister Gyula Horn on Friday replied to a letter sent by French
Prime Minister Edouard Balladur on behalf of the EU troika, the chairman of
the European Commission, a Pact on European Stability and other treaties.

        In his letter Prime Minister Horn
explained that it was Hungary's strategic goal to achieve Euroatlantic
integration and membership of European integration organizations, in
cooperation with its neighbours and not to their detriment, so he sees an
improvement of relations with neigbours as a vital interest.

        In this spirit Hungary has
signed basic treaties with 16 countries, and has accepted declarations on
protection of ethnic minorities with four states. The Hungarian government
seeks to raise ties with Slovakia and Romania to a level that will contribute
to an atmosphere of confidence and long-term stability in this region.

        After the government took
office, it renewed talks on basic treaties with Romania and Slovakia.

        Horn said Hungary's main point
in relations with Romania and Slovakia on issues where differences exist
for any reason, agreement should be reached on the basis of the principles
and norms formulated in European and UN documents.

        "We expect our negotiating
partners to accept the political commitments undertaken by them in the
relevant European and UN documents as a minimum binding legal force in
formulating, checking, and guaranteeing the rights of Slovak and Roman
minorities in Hungary and Hungarian minorities in Slovakia and Romania."

        We are convinced that only in
this way can we expect the basic treaties to meet the expectations and truly
fill their original function: to contribute to the inner stability of the
countries in
question, the stability of the region and finally to promoting the security of
Europe as a whole."

        The prime minister hoped that
the questions still left open could be cleared up before the European
Stability conference.

Press Conference on Hungarian-Slovak Treaty

        Budapest, March 10 (MTI) -
Current talks on the bilateral treaty between Hungary and Slovakia show
slower progress than could be realistically expected. This holds even for
points where the parties are not divided by conceptional and political

        Positions sharply differ as to
the wording and content of the treaty, its philosophy and approach to the
talks, Hungarian Foreign Ministry state secretary Ferenc Somogyi told the
press in Budapest on Friday.

        He added that he had informed
Prime Minister Gyula Horn on the course of negotiations so far.

        Horn agreed that the results
attained up to now are not satisfactory, and therefore he phoned Slovak
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar this morning, proposing Foreign Minister
Laszlo Kovacs could travel to Bratislava on Saturday.

        Kovacs is scheduled to have
talks with the Slovak prime minister.

        At the news conference, the
Slovak delegation head, state secretary Jozef Sestak, said he would like to
see hitherto achievements assessed positively.

        He added, however, that the
Slovak side was also discontented with the discussions held so far, for
which reason he said before leaving for Bratislava that both delegation
leaders should have adequately wide-ranging mandates.

        Sestak stressed the Slovak
side has the goodwill and authorization to conclude a treaty satisfactory to
both parties and at the same time reflecting Slovak state interests as well.

Hungarian Foreign Minister in Bratislava

        Bratislava, March 11 (MTI) -
Foreign ministerial talks to coordinate the text of the Hungarian-Slovak
basic treaty were held on Saturday in the building of the Slovak government
office in Bratislava.

        The Hungarian delegation, led
by Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs and including Foreign Ministry state
secretary Ferenc Somogyi, was met by Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj
Schenk and Foreign Ministry state secretary Jozef Sestak, who on Friday
was still in Budapest discussing the treaty.

        With no progress reached at
Friday's Budapest talks, Prime Ministers Gyula Horn and Vladimir Meciar
on Friday agreed by phone that the negotiations should be continued in
Bratislava on Saturday.

        "A compromise was seen within
reach on a few matters," Kovacs told MTI. At the same time, "the need for
further political coordination on some additional important questions was
also apparent," he added.

        The first half of the talks, lasting
from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., was attended by Vladimir Meciar as well. "The
Slovak prime minister proposed that talks from now on should be directly
supervised by the two foreign ministers, and I indicated Gyula Horn's
readiness to participate, if necessary, in a summit meeting," Kovacs said,
adding that "Vladimir Meciar also received the offer positively".

        Schenk and Kovacs confirmed
in unison: If continuing coordination - on foreign ministerial and expert
levels - remain futile, in the second half of next week "the increasingly
pressing issue of the bilateral treaty will also be discussed on prime
ministerial level, in line with the Hungarian proposal.

        The two delegations agreed
that the expert groups would go on coordinating the treaty in Bratislava on
Sunday, and sit again at the conference table in Budapest on Tuesday.

        "We have returned to the
earlier position that one document will be drafted but this will include a
detailed and meaningful clause on minorities. The Slovak side has given up
the argument that a minority clause would make the treaty
disproportionate," the Hungarian foreign minister told MTI's Bratislava
correspondent. On Saturday, Laszlo Kovacs discussed the bilateral treaty
with his Slovak counterpart Juraj Schenk and Prime Minister Vladimir

        "I deem it important to stress
that the main thing about this minority clause is that we were able to agree
on regarding certain European and international documents as domestic
legal norms," Kovacs said. He said this was a crucial step forward
indicating "the two sides' readiness to commit themselves to applying the
itemized list of U.N., OSCE and Council of Europe documents as elements
of the treaty's minority section". He made no secret of Hungary's intention
to insert even more international documents than listed in the minority
chapters. "We believe that document no. 1201 of the Council of Europe
also belongs here," he said.

        "We want to conclude the
treaty not on international pressure. I told my Slovak partners: It lies in our
interest because it would serve well the region's stability, its economic
interests and the minorities alike, so signing the document is a Hungarian
national interest," Kovacs asserted. He admitted the existence of
international compelling circumstances manifest in the demand for
prospective EU and NATO members to settle disputes between each other.

        "Now we face a concrete
pressure: Europe and the world expect the Hungarian-Slovak and
Hungarian-Romanian treaties to be signed before March 20 so that they
can be part of the Pact on Stability in Europe.

        "Aware of this, we strive to
have the documents readied by March 20. Naturally, we will not sign a
treaty before March 20 which we would not sign afterwards. Consequently,
the pressure of time does not mean we make any concessions, but until
then we are even ready to talk continuously if necessary," Kovacs said in
reply to MTI's questions.

        The Hungarian foreign minister
informed leaders of Hungarian political parties in Slovakia on the results of
his Saturday talks.

Hungary's GDP Rose 2pc in 1994

        Budapest, March 10 (MTI-
ECONEWS) - Hungary's GDP was HUF 4,310 billion last year, a 2 per cent
increase in volume terms on 1993, the Central Statistical Office reported on

        Per capita GDP stood at USD
4,000, calculated at the official exchange rate, according to the report,
which is based on preliminary figures.

        The increase in GDP last year
was mainly the result of the 11-12 per cent growth in investment, with
capital investment growing faster than home building. The rate of
accumulation, including the increase in stocks, was some 21-22 per cent, 6
percentage points higher than in 1992, the report states.

        Personal consumption,
including the value of education, medical treatment and other social
services, totalled HUF 3,170 billion last year, a 1-2 per cent increase on the
previous year. Personal incomes grew by 3-4 per cent in real terms last
year and the gap between incomes and consumption resulted in a HUF
300 billion increase in net personal savings, the reports shows.

        Total domestic consumption
last year amounted to HUF 4,606 billion, of which accumulation accounted
for HUF 930 billion, a 20 per cent increase on 1993. The import surplus in
1994 was HUF 295 billion at current prices, the report shows.

Hungarian Finance Minister Meets EU Diplomats

        Budapest, March 10 (MTI) -
Finance Minister Lajos Bokros on Friday met the head of the European
Union's Budapest mission and EU ambassadors to Hungary, the Finance
Ministry told MTI.

        At the meeting, which was
requested by the EU diplomats, Bokros gave a briefing on the country's
economic situation, economic policy, and urgent macroeconomics
measures under preparation.

        He stressed the importance of
Hungary joining the EU and expressed the hope that economic growth in
the EU will have a stimulating effect on Hungary's economy.

Budapest Spring Festival - Goncz, Ahtisaari

        Budapest, March 10 (MTI) -
President Arpad Goncz, Budapest Spring Festival chief patron, opened
events at the Museum of Applied Art along with visiting Finnish President
Martti Ahtisaari.

        This is the first time in the 15-
year history of the Budapest Spring Festival that one major geographical
unit of Europe is presented together rather than just one country or city -
Varde presents works by young artists from Northern Europe. President
Ahtisaari said "Varde" means campfire or signal fire.

        Countries from Northern
Europe - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden present 28
million people put together, present the particular features of their culture.

        The show was a success in
London and Rome earlier.
        College students from the
Nordic countries speak of their efforts to blend applied art design with
environmental protection and promote the quality of life. Hungarian visitors
can see the 250 designs of 300 students and their teachers.

        The show, sponsored by the
North European Council of Ministers and the North European Cultural
Foundation, is open until April 23.

        Varde then moves on to Berlin
and Vienna.

Goncz Meets Danish Foreign Minister

        Copenhagen, March 11 (MTI) -
"Hungary's integration endeavours are not directed against other
countries," President Arpad Goncz said in Copenhagen on Saturday, after
meeting Danish Foreign Minister Niels Petersen.
        Goncz arrived in Copenhagen
today for the weekend World Summit for Social Development.

        The first bilateral discussion the
Hungarian president had during the international conference was with
Petersen in the Bella center of the Danish capital.

        Goncz stressed Hungary
wishes to see the European Union, the Western European Union and
NATO accepting new members on the basis of their individual merits, but
would not be happy if any Central or Eastern European countries were
barred from integration. He welcomed Denmark's readiness to support
Hungarian integration efforts and share its related experiences with

        Petersen stated his country
would continue this practice in the future too, and informed Goncz that he
would travel to Budapest in June as part of a tour.

        On Saturday, the Hungarian
president participates in the plenary session of the World Summit for Social
Development, and in the evening he will attend a gala dinner hosted by
Queen Margrethe II for the visiting heads of state and government.

Hungarian President in Copenhagen

        Copenhagen, March 11 (MTI) -
The Hungarian and Slovak presidents met in Copenhagen on Saturday,
presidential spokesman Andras Farago told MTI.

        Although bilateral talks
between Arpad Goncz and Michal Kovac were scheduled only for Sunday
morning, the two men already talked with each other at Saturday's lunch
hosted by Danish Prime Minister Poul Rasmussen for the heads of state
and government who attended the U.N. World Summit for Social

        Earlier in the day, Goncz and
Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari participated at the introduction of an
international study on the future of work, edited by Hungarian academician
Mihaly Simai. The study, entitled Global Employment, was published jointly
by the U.N. University and the World Institute of Economic Research and

        In a series of bilateral talks,
Goncz met the amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad as-Sabah. They
agreed on the need for boosting economic and cultural links, alongside
political relations. Goncz said he intended to meet his invitation to visit
Kuwait, in a way that his trip also serve that end. He hoped Kuwait would
soon overcome problems caused by the war. The amir stressed his wish for
closer links between the two countries in the economy, mainly the private

Goncz Sees Slovak and Bulgarian Presidents

        Copenhagen, March 12 (MTI) -
The Hungarian and Slovak presidents expressed their hope that continuous
talks between experts of the two countries would be successful, resulting in
a bilateral treaty acceptable for both sides, the spokesman for the
Hungarian head of state, Andras Farago, told the press on the discussion
between Arpad Goncz and Michal Kovac in Copenhagen on Sunday.

        Goncz and Kovac, in the
Danish capital attending the U.N. World Summit for Social Development,
voiced their interest in the conclusion of a basic treaty between the two
countries. They said they were aware of the historic importance of signing
the treaty and its great significance for the European integration of the two

        Both Hungary and Slovakia
have an interest in drafting a bilateral treaty complying with European
norms, reflecting genuine political intentions and interests, and promoting
the settlement of problems, Farago said.

        At the meeting, Goncz
confirmed an invitation for Kovac to visit Hungary. The date of the trip will
be fixed through diplomatic channels. Next time the two politicians will see
each other at a conference in the west Hungarian town of Keszthely on
May 25-26, with Presidents Lech Walesa of Poland, Vaclav Havel of the
Czech Republic, Milan Kucan of Slovenia, Luigi Scalfaro of Italy and Roman
Herzog of Germany also attending.

        Answering questions from
MTI's correspondent, Kovac said this was his tenth meeting with Goncz, all
of which were marked by mutual understanding and friendship.

        "We both expressed our
intention to help our governments in bringing the treaty talks to success.
We agreed that this will be an event of historic importance promoting our
countries' bid to join the European Union. Our friends in the EU see this
positively," the Slovak president said.

        Goncz also held bilateral talks
with his Bulgarian opposite number Zheliu Zhelev in Copenhagen on
Sunday. Zhelev confirmed an invitation for Goncz to visit Bulgaria. The two
heads of state agreed that the question of the Bulgarian-Hungarian basic
treaty would be examined further on expert level, and that experts would
coordinate cooperation between the two countries at international forums.

Poverty Threatens the Rich, Goncz Says

        Copenhagen, March 12 (MTI) -
"The poverty of the poor is a threat to the rich, that of poor countries to
wealthy ones, and that of poor continents to rich continents and the entire
world," Hungarian President Arpad Goncz said today at the Copenhagen
World Summit for Social Development.

        "Competition-oriented societies
are reproducing poverty from time to time, together with addictive diseases,
organized crime and growing social violence," Goncz stated.

        "In countries which are
currently finding themselves faced with the reality of competition societies
and struggling with the hardships of transformation, such as Hungary,
people are hit by insecurity of existence, the deteriorating housing situation
results in a rapidly decreasing number of births and an aging society. This
syndrome needs to be treated symptomatically too, but on the long term it
can only be cured by completely eliminating the underlying causes,
restoring economic balance and accelerating the pace of development," the
Hungarian president said.

        He noted what he was saying
held - if in varying degrees - for most industrialized societies and all post-
communist countries. In its national report to the world meeting, Hungary
gave account of its domestic situation concerning these phenomena, and
also of what the government is going to do to nurse society back to health.
It will continue to help families, but will try to rationalize its welfare
policy for
families, making support for them more selective. It does not refuse
fulfilment of tasks incumbent on the state, but relies on cooperation with
civil society, social organizations, charitable foundations, the churches,
trade unions and the cooperative movement numbering nearly two million

        Goncz stressed how great
importance Hungary ascribes to recommendations from top-level world
meetings like the Copenhagen summit, which it tries to put into practice in
the current difficult period of social transition. This requires constant
deliberation and planning, as well as multifaceted international cooperation
and exchanges of experience - tasks which Hungary is ready to shoulder.

Stricter Austrian Controls Along Border

        Budapest, March 10 (MTI) -
Passengers wishing to leave Hungary at Hegyeshalom along the
Hungarian-Austrian border had to wait two hours because Austrian
authorities carried out strict entry controls.

        The spokesman of the
Hungarian border guards, Colonel Attila Krisan, said this was the second
time this week that the Austrians applied the strict examination of travellers
intending to cross into Austria, which significantly slows down traffic.

        Each car and its passengers
are examined for up to 5-6 minutes and no difference is made between
Hungarian and transit passengers.

        If these stricter examinations
become general, then those travelling from Hungary to Austria can count
on waiting times of up to 8-10 hours in the summer peak season.

        Krisan recalled that Hungary
has on several occasions called for the opening of a separate lane for
Hungarians, but the Austrians are not ready to do so, at least for the time

A tovabbterjesztest a New York-i szekhelyu Magyar Emberi Jogok
Alapitvany tamogatja.

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