N E W S L E T T E R
Republic of Hungary Budapest, 1394 . 423
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Telephone:36(1)156-8000
Press Department Telefax: 36(1) 156-3801
12/1995. Budapest, January 19, 1995
Hungarian Press Review
Budapest, January 18 (MTI) - Nepszabadsag - Hungary have the
confidence of the international capital market, but the country's external
balance has to be improved in order to keep it. If confidence is shaken, the
world will not care who has drawn the loans; whether the National Bank to
finance the country, or a company to increase production, says in an
interview National Bank of Hungary (NBH) Vice-President Gyorgy Szapary.
Regarding the 1995 budget, the leading financier - who has also exercised
presidential powers since the departure of Peter Akos Bod (on December
15, 1994) under internal NBH regulations - pointed out he agrees with the
finance minister that some adjustments might be needed during the year to
reduce the deficit. Szapary put the 1994 current account deficit at USD 4
billion. (Pages 1 and 10)
- Nepszabadsag - Last year, Hungarians bought foreign currency
totalling USD 656 million, as compared to USD 483 million in 1993.
According to the article, which quotes figures from the National Bank of
Hungary, currency purchase was largely encouraged by the increase of
personal hard-currency allocation from USD 300 to USD 800 in April 1994.
- Uj Magyarorszag - Matyas Szuros (Hungarian Socialist Party) told
the paper he was for the president of the republic to be elected directly. He
said the HSP had not yet appointed a candidate for the post. He himself has
received several inquiries but no official request to enter for president in
event of direct election. (Under current laws, the president of the republic is
elected by the legislature. The opposition Independent Smallholders Party
collected signatures in favour of a referendum to decide that the president
should be elected directly.)
* * *
- Magyar Hirlap - A building company in Szeged (Southern Hungary)
has started a lawsuit against the limited liability company EXPO "96 to seek
compensation for the losses they sustained due to the cancellation of the
1996 world fair. They estimate their losses to be HUF 2.4 billion (1 USD
equals 111.53 HUF). Before the expo was cancelled, Light Structure
Construction and Servicing Ltd. of Szeged were commissioned to build the
international exhibition hall, with a total surface area of 43,000 square
metres, with the right to use it subsequently. (Pages 1 and 11)
- Magyar Hirlap - This year 2,000 immigration permits can be issued,
but under a government decree ethnic Hungarians are not included in this
number, parliamentary State Secretary at the Interior Ministry Gabor
Vilagosi said. The number of applications has been around 15,000-17,000
over the last few years, with nearly 20,000 people asking for immigration
permits in 1991, mainly from Romania, the Soviet successor states and the
- Nepszava - The Alliance of Free Democrats sees no reason or
possibility to discuss again the coalition pact, nor do they think it is the
time for a government reshuffle, AFD executive Peter Hack said. He added
that his party would like to see a change in the government"s internal
functioning. Hack believes there is no chance that a new constitution can be
drafted in 1995, and its completion is also unlikely before the next general
elections are due, in 1998.
* * *
- Magyar Hirlap - A successful employment policy requires economic,
administrative and financial conditions that this country has never
experienced, Tamas Gyekiczky, the employment policy expert of the Alliance
of Free Democrats (AFD) stated in an interview with the paper. In his
opinion, the government programme fails to reflect the core of his party's
economic policy, namely that the private sector should receive considerable
tax allowances and other financial incentives so that it can create jobs. None
of the elements of the complex central employment policy proposed by the
AFD seem to have been adopted, he added.
- Nepszabadsag - The Swiss honorary consul to Florence is behind
the USD 240 million offer for the hotel chain HungarHotels, the paper's
Rome correspondent reports, but since Consul Gerardo Kraft has only one
three-star hotel in Florence, it is unlikely that he alone stands behind the
offer. The Kraft family also has other concerns in Italy, so it is possible
their other business interests or contacts are also involved in financing the
French Need No Passport to Travel to Hungary
Budapest, January 18 (MTI) - From the beginning of this year, French
nationals can enter Hungary without passports, producing only their identity
cards on the border.
The note, which made this possible, was presented by Prime Minister
Gyula Horn to his hosts when he visited Paris at the end of last year.
Parliamentary State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Istvan Szent-Ivanyi
told MTI that a similar measure had been in force for guests coming from
Germany for several years.
The easier travel opportunity is particularly favourable to French
visitors in view of Austria joining the European Union on January 1, as now a
French tourist setting out from Paris can travel right to Budapest without
Hungary wishes to introduce a similar arrangement with other EU
members and would like if the currently one-way system with Germany and
France was placed on a mutual basis and Hungarian tourists could also
travel in Europe with IDs only.
Foreign Minister Meets Bosnian Hungarian Humanitarian Leaders
Budapest, January 18 (MTI) - Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo
Kovacs received in his office the president and vice-president of the
Hungarian Humanitarian Association of Bosnia-Herzegovina (HHAB), the
Foreign Ministry told MTI on Wednesday.
Eva Pasic-Juhasz and Tibor Torok informed the minister about the
situation of ethnic Hungarians in Bosnia, and expressed their thanks for
Hungary's support. They also outlined the opportunities for cooperation
between Hungarian and Bosnian firms in building up the infrastructure,
supplying machine spare parts, developing the pharmaceutical industry, and
Kovacs confirmed that the Foreign Ministry and the Hungarian
Embassy in Zagreb would continue to follow closely the position of Bosnian
Hungarians and would help in the search for a solution to their problems.
The foreign minister stressed Hungary's interest in participating in th
reconstruction of Sarajevo and announced that during his visit to Sarajevo
on January 20, he would meet HHAB presidium members and hand over to
them the humanitarian aid donated by the Foreign Ministry.
Hungary's Foreign Minister to Visit Sarajevo
Vienna, January 18 (MTI) - Officials at the Vienna headquarters of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe announced today that
Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs, chairman in office, would travel
to Sarajevo on Friday, where he and General Secretary Wilhelm Hoynck,
who will travel with him, will install the three newly appointed ombudsmen of
the OSCE in their posts.
The three officials correspond to the ethnic composition of Bosnia-
Hercegovina: Vera Jovanovic is a Serb, Esad Muhibic a Bosnian Moslem,
and Branka Raguz a Croat. Their task is to monitor how human rights are
respected, and take action in every case where the authorities violate human
rights because of ethnic considerations.
The Sarajevo office of OSCE was opened on November 1, 1994, and
is under the direction of Swiss ambassador Hans Peter Kleiner. Its task is to
help train ombudsmen and provide assistance to them in their work.
This office also provides technical assistance to the representatives o
the three nationalities, and allows them to maintain international contacts
and to keep in touch with the local authorities.
Officials at the Vienna headquarters of OSCE said that Kovacs would
hold an international press conference in Sarajevo on the afternoon of
January 20th, and in Zagreb later in the evening.
Property Agency Declares HungarHotels Tender Unsuccessful
Budapest, January 18 (MTI) - In the wake of a Hungarian government
decision, the State Property Agency (SPA) Board of Directors today
declared as invalid the tender invited for the privatization of a 51 per cent
stake in the HungarHotels chain.
The bidders - American General Hospitality, Intercontinental, and
Interag Rt. - will get back their USD 900,000 deposit.
The board has told SPA staff to work out a proposal to use
HungarHotels. The January 12 government decision means the proposal
should be ready by March 31 with the Hungarian Tourism Association, the
Tourism Chamber, and the Hotel Federation all involved.
"Use will not necessarily mean privatization," SPA Deputy Managing
Director Gabor Halmi told reporters.
Halmi said that the SPA had not discussed the USD 240 million bid
submitted by the Swiss Refalia AG. "The foreign investor turned to the
Justice Ministry with its bid. As long as it does not contact the seller, the
SPA cannot consider the bid," he said.
Foreign Affairs State Secretary In Brussels Talks
Brussels, January 18 (MTI) - Maintaining contacts with the Brussels-
based international integration organizations, furthering a dialogue to
promote Hungary's integration, discussion of topical international issues
related to Hungary's chairmanship of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, and preparing for the Hungarian Prime Minister's
February visit to Brussels and the three international institutions (European
Union, NATO, and West European Union) were all discussed by Foreign
Ministry State Secretary Ferenc Somogyi's over three days in Brussels.
He said particularly NATO represents an important negotiating
partner, since this alliance is in the process of considering the consequences
and terms of would-be broadening.
Somogyi talked to Sergio Balanzino, Gebhard von Moltke, Robin
Beard and Herpert van Foreest, all NATO deputy secretaries general.
He also met the ambassadors of several member countries, and the
members of a committee entrusted with drafting a study probing the terms of
Slovak PM Meciar to Come to Budapest for Talks on January 25
Budapest, January 18 (MTI) - Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar
is to pay an official visit to Hungary on January 25 at the invitation of his
counterpart Gyula Horn, the Foreign Ministry's press department told MTI
New Border Stations to Open on Hungarian-Romanian Frontier
Budapest, January 18 (MTI) - On the southern section of the
Hungarian-Romanian frontier, a permanent border station will open at
Battonya in May and at Mehkerek in August. The Hungarian facilities are
already in place while Romanian facilities are being built, Col. Karoly David,
head of the Oroshaza Directorate of the Hungarian Border Guards (HBG),
told a news conference at Gyoparosfurdo today.
The directorate controls a 286-km section extending from Nagylak to
Biharkeresztes. In 1994, over 7,000 border crimes were registered along this
section, 8 per cent fewer than a year earlier, he said.
HBG data shows last year 30 per cent of border crimes were
committed on the southeastern frontier by nationals of 75 countries, mainly
Romanians and Turks. Eighty six per cent of crimes were detected at
border-crossings. The "green border" was fairly quiet, with 11 human
smugglers and 720 border violators arrested.
The number of people crossing the section legally dropped by 18 per
cent, and that of vehicles by 3.5 per cent last year.
At the three border posts falling to the scope of the directorate, the
frontier guards recognized 117 cars as stolen and found almost 300 kg of
drugs, mainly heroin, the colonel said.
Roughly 165,000 foreigners, including 150,000 Romanian nationals,
were denied entry to Hungary for lack of appropriate travel documents and
sufficient cash, he said.
A railway border guard post reopened at Lokoshaza last November,
and another is being rebuilt at Biharkeresztes. By this year end all border
guards of the directorate will be professional soldiers, and the Bihar border
guard company of Biharkeresztes and the Koros company of Gyula will
come up to full strength, David said.
A tovabbterjesztest a New York-i szekhelyu Magyar Emberi Jogok
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Reposting is supported by Hungarian Human Rights Foundation News
and Information Service.