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1 OMRI Daily Digest - 25 January 1995 (mind)  60 sor     (cikkei)
2 VoA - Magyarorszag/Szlovakia (mind)  59 sor     (cikkei)
3 CET - 26 January 1995 (mind)  297 sor     (cikkei)

+ - OMRI Daily Digest - 25 January 1995 (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

No. 18, Part II, 25 January 1995

representing the three Hungarian parties in the Slovak parliament--
Coexistence, the Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement, and the
Hungarian Civic Party--concluded the official part of their visit to
Hungary on 24 January as Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar arrived
in Budapest, MTI and Magyar Hirlap report on 25 January. The three
leaders, in meetings with Prime Minister Gyula Horn and President Arpad
Goncz, expressed doubts that Meciar's visit would lead to a breakthrough
in Hungarian-Slovak relations. They said the Meciar government's program
was opposed to the interests of the Hungarian minority. -- Edith Oltay,
OMRI, Inc.

reported on 24 January that talks between top Hungarian officials and
Viorel Hrebenciuc, head of Romania's Council of National Minorities,
were tense. Hrebenciuc denied his government intended to outlaw the
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, saying Minister of Justice
Iosif Gavril Chiuzbaian's drive to ban the HDFR did not reflect the
official government view. Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs,
after meeting with Hrebenciuc, said that anti-Hungarian statements by
Romanian politicians threatened the very existence of the Hungarian
minority in Romania and were damaging relations between the two
countries, MTI reports. Meanwhile, Adrian Nastase, executive president
of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, told a press conference in
the Moldavian town of Focsani on 24 January that the PSDR's coalition
partner, the Party of Romanian National Unity, had not consulted the
PSDR before calling for the HDFR to be banned. Nastase said his party
might demand the dismissal of Chiuzbaian for having claimed outlawing
the HDFR was legally warranted and would be examined by the government.
The HDFR noted in a 24 January press release that the government's
attacks on it were attempts to deflect attention from the ruling party's
recently formalized alliance with extremists. Radio Bucharest's
correspondent in Budapest said it was expected that Romanian-Hungarian
relations would cool off considerably. -- Michael Shafir and Edith
Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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
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+ - VoA - Magyarorszag/Szlovakia (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

type=correspondent report
title=Hungary / Slovakia (s-only)
byline=Stefan Bos
voiced at:

Intro:  Hungary has agreed to recognize the current borders of
neighboring Slovakia.  Stefan Bos in Budapest reports the
announcement was made Wednesday after talks between the Hungarian
and Slovak prime ministers.

Text:  Hungarian prime minister Gyula Horn told reporters
recognition of the two countries' current borders is part of a
basic treaty that is being drafted with Slovakia.

Mr. Horn and his Slovak counterpart, Vladimir Meciar, now on a
visit to Hungary, said they hope the accord could be signed by
March 21st when a conference is to be held in France on European

Hungary had objected in the past to recognizing Slovakia's
borders because of concern about the Slovak government's
treatment of about 600-thousand ethnic Hungarians living there.

Parties representing ethnic Hungarians say some Slovak
nationalists are advocating the removal of bilingual roadsigns
and elimination of the use of the Hungarian language in schools.

But prime minister Meciar says that minority rights, such as
those enjoyed by ethnic Hungarians, will be defined  in a
separate agreement to be signed with Hungary next month.  He
added that the basic treaty now being written would also include
a clause about minority rights.  (Signed)


25-Jan-95 2:24 pm est (1924 utc)

source: Voice of America

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
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+ - CET - 26 January 1995 (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

26 January 1995
Volume 2, Issue 19


**Anti-Semitism Flares in Hungary**
  Hungarian police have arrested two youths for allegedly
  breaking into a synagogue in Debrecen earlier this month in
  commemoration of the birthday of Hungary's wartime fascist
  leader, Ferenc Szalasi. According to Hungarian radio,
  officials at Debrecen's main synagogue have reported that 19
  Torah scrolls were burned in the apparent break-in.

**Slovakian-Hungarian Relations Warming**
  Following talks in Budapest yesterday, Prime Minister Gyula
  Horn of Hungary and his Slovak counterpart Vladimir Meciar
  announced  a breakthrough in the long-running negotiations
  over a basic treaty between the two countries as well as
  progress on the issue of Slovakia's Danube dam project.  After
  the talks, Prime Minsiter Horn announced that a basic treaty
  was in sight which would guarantee the inviolability of the
  400 mile border between the two countries and include
  provisions for the protection of ethnic minorities. Horn says
  the agreement could be signed in late March. Meciar was also
  keen to point out his country's willingness to reach an
  accord. His tone was conciliatory not only on the basic treaty
  but also on the issue of Slovakia's new Gabcikovo dam, part of
  a joint project, which Hungary pulled out of in 1991. Budapest
  has complained that the dam has caused environmental damage
  and wants Slovakia to restore some of the Danugbe's flow.
  Meciar announced new measures to do so.

  "We also recommended that the Slovak side at its own expense
  and on the basis of jointly approved documentation will build
  the riverbed threshold as a technical solution as an
  expression of goodwill and a contribution to friendship."

  However, Meciar also asked Budapest to reconsider its earlier
  decision to cancel the construction of the Nagymaros dam on
  the Hungarian side. When pressed, Horn told CET that he and
  Meciar didn't discuss that. However, he did not rule out
  future talks.

  "The Hungarian government can do practical measures if an
  authorization is obtained from the Hungarian Parliament. Other
  matters relating to this were not discussed separately.
  Naturally this does not mean that other matters can't also be
  put on the agenda in the future."

  Despite Horn's comments, Hungary is scheduled this month to
  blow up the part of the dam it started before pulling out of
  the project. -- Duncan Shiels


**Hungary Moves Privatization Bill**
  A Hungarian parliamentary committee has sent a privatization
  bill to parliament. The Accounting Committee approved the
  measure by a vote of 12-0, with one abstention. The
  legislation would speed up the process, and severely limit
  state-ownership or interests in a large number of companies.
  Only the postal service, the railroads and forestry management
  would remain fully state owned. Also under the bill, the state
  would maintain majority stakes in some large firms, including
  several power utilities. Parliament could vote on the bill by

**OTP Privatization Set for '96**
  Hungary is finalizing plans to sell its National Savings Bank,
  OTP, by the end of 1996. OTP is the country's largest bank. It
  holds 55 percent of all public deposits and finances 95 percent of all
  loans.  The proposal to privatize the bank will likely call
  for the government to retain just over a quarter of it, and
  give 20 percent to the state's pension fund. Also under the plan,
  institutional and foreign investors will be offered a 25 percent
  stake and the remainder will go to the public. No single
  foreign investor will be allowed to hold more than 5 percent of
  the bank's shares. OTP is now 80 percent state owned. Its pre-tax
  profit was $10 million in 1993. That was down from $17 million
  the previous year.

**Russian Oil Exports Down**
  Russian crude oil exports to Central Europe this month will be
  far below projections. The Russian oil exporter Transneft had
  hoped to send 400,000 barrels per day to the region. But the
  average for this month will probably be down to about 170,000
  barrels per day. Oil flow along the so-called Friendship
  pipeline, linking Russia with the Czech Republic, Hungary and
  Slovakia, was shut off twice earlier this month because of a
  tariff dispute between Russia and Ukraine. The disruption of
  the pipeline has Central European oil companies scrambling for
  alternate sources.


**Western Car Rental Firms Dominate Central European Market**
  By David Fink

  Car rental companies have sprung up all over Central Europe in
  recent years. But this growing market continues to be
  dominated by western companies that have operated in the
  region for decades. Travelers find familiar names when they
  rent a car in Budapest, Prague or Warsaw. Avis, Hertz, Budget
  and Europe car control more than half the auto rental market
  in these cities. Analysts say that's because they've been
  operating in the region longer than their local rivals and
  have discount arrangements with airlines and hotels. Robert
  Toth runs Tradesco Tours in Budapest. He says, in the car
  rental business, name recognition is everything.

  "Incoming tourists from around the world will not have any
  access to a local car rental company. The travel agency, or
  the company that is sending the individual here will not be
  aware of the smaller company because there is no listing."

  International reservation systems also help western firms
  attract local customers. Budapest Pannonia Hertz Managing
  Director Laszlo Nagy says Hungarians like the convenience of
  arranging for a car in a foreign country with a company at

  "I reserve everything on the computer system and we give the
  Hungarian client the voucher. He pays the Hungarian currency
  for me and I give the voucher. And when he arrives he has to
  pay gasoline and no more."

  But Nagy's customers must pay a value added tax, or VAT, of 22
  percent. Car rental companies in Hungary formed their own
  trade group last year which successfully fought off even
  higher taxes. In the Czech Republic, the VAT on car rentals
  can be as low as 5 percent and as high as 22 percent. In
  Poland, car rental firms must pay a value added tax, excise
  tax and customs duties on imported cars. Joerten Hansen is
  Vice-President of Avis in Poland.

  "You may pay some 60 percent in tax when you purchase a medium
  sized car. Here it works in a very special way as we are
  paying tax when we purchase our car and we also have to pay
  tax when we sell our cars."

  Hansen adds that the value added tax is especially hard on car
  rental agencies, which must keep their cars fresh.

  "A normal company can decide to keep cars for a longer time in
  order to depreciate on the value of the cars to a low value.
  We can't offer our international clients very old cars; we
  have to turn the fleet regularly."

  Car rental companies across the region have to replace about
  10 percent of their fleets annually. And there's another reason for
  this high turnover - theft. Most major firms won't even let
  customers drive cars rented in the west into Central Europe
  and the high rate of theft is pushing up insurance rates for
  rental car companies throughout the region. Locally based
  firms complain this is squeezing them out of the market. Tamas
  Voros is general manager of Budapest's Riva Rent-A-Car. He
  says insurance companies won't protect small firms against
  theft anymore, so most independent agencies only rent to

  "I'm not renting a car to a private person, no matter whether
  they are Hungarian or foreign, because I'm afraid he will
  steal it or get it stolen."

  But most rental customers are individuals and Voros says that's
  one more reason he can't hope to beat western agencies, even
  if his prices are lower. But Hertz customer Laszlo Molnar says
  western agencies are offering the best rates.

  "The cars here are in pretty bad condition and they are pretty
  expensive. Hungarian car rental firms are more expensive. The
  best price is now offered by Hertz."

  Car rental prices in Hungary run about $40 to $80 a day. Prices
  in Poland start at about $90 a day for small cars such as the
  Volkswagen Polo or the Ford Fiesta, while a Mercedes can set
  you back about $260. In the Czech Republic expect to shell out
  about $120 for a small car, to $400 for a large one. High
  insurance rates and taxes may be constricting the industry's
  growth and causing prices to rise. But as long as there are
  travelers, especially business travelers willing to spend
  money, analysts say the market should expand anyway.


**New Face of Meciar**
  by Duncan Shiels

  It was all smiles yesterday in Budapest as Slovak Prime
  Minister Vladimir Meciar met his Hungarian counterpart, Gyula
  Horn. Relations between previous Meciar-led Slovak governments
  and Budapest were frosty to say the least. Now, five weeks
  into his third term as premier, it appears Meciar is putting
  on a show of reconciliation. To find out why Meciar is
  changing his tune, CET spoke with a specialist on Slovak
  affairs, Laszlo Hudak, the Director of the East-West Institute
  in Atlanta.

  CET: Meciar made his name as an aggressive nationalist,
  often accusing Hungary of harboring territorial claims on
  Slovakia. Now Meciar appears to be trying to build bridges
  with Budapest. At the same time, he's stopped attacking his
  own president, Michal Kovac. Hudak explains what he thinks is
  going on.

  HUDAK: Basically there are two different approaches, one
  dealing with the internal policies and the other dealing with
  the external ones. On the internal side, Meciar and the
  current government coalition very quickly moved their people
  into all the crucial positions, especially in the issues of
  privatisation, internal security, education, etc, and on the
  other hand, on the external side, Merciar is sending all the
  right signals which the West is expecting and especially
  regarding the national minority issues or the further
  cooperation with Western institutions etc. I see a discrepancy
  between the two of them and it will take some time to figure
  out whether or not it is a genuine attempt on the
  international side to follow this kind of conciliatory policy.

  CET: Now what about Meciar's relationship with President
  Kovac? There's no more talk of trying to remove him but at the
  same time he's halved the presidential budget. How would you
  describe their relationship at the moment?

  HUDAK: Well it seems to me that Meciar realises that by
  focussing on Kovac he is losing too much energy and that this
  is an issue which can be dealt with later on. So now he's
  doing I think a very wise policy, he's not openly criticising
  President Kovac and rather doing the things he can,
  where he has authority, especially through the parliament,
  through the government. And of course the fact that he cut in
  half the budget of the Presidential Office, whch was the
  biggest cut in the overall budget, shows that this tension is
  still there. But there is obviously a new tactic on the side
  of Prime Minster Meciar on how to deal with this issue.

  CET: How do you think President Kovac views the new Meciar?

  HUDAK: I think he deals with him as a necessary partner but with
  suspicions, of course, coming from the past experience.
  Obviously the two of them have to communicate and they have to
  find a way how to come to some agreement, but I think it's
  still a very sensitive type of relationship, very fragile, and
  I think we can expect, in the future, conflicts on several

  CET: What issues particularly?

  HUDAK: I think especially on the issues dealing with, for
  example, the issue of the media, independence of the
  electronic media in Slovakia, issues dealing with education
  for example...

  CET: So you seem fairly skeptical about the current climate
  Meciar is putting out?

  HUDAK: I'm reasonably skeptical, I would say. I hope and I
  certainly believe that the steps we see now being taken by the
  Slovak government, especially if you look at the declaration
  of the government regarding its program, which certainly has
  a lot of positive points, that these are the real intentions
  and that they will be implemented. But at the same time, based
  on especially the past experience, and especially on the
  attitudes of the two coalition partners of Meciar's Movement
  for a Democratic Slovakia, I'm very cautious about the
  implementation of these ideas.


* CET On-Line - copyright 1995 Word Up! Inc. All rights reserved.
  This publication may be freely forwarded, archived, or
  otherwise distributed in electronic format only so long as
  this notice, and all other information contained in this
  publication is included.  For-profit distribution of this
  publication or the information contained herein is strictly
  prohibited.  For more information, contact the publishers.

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.