More Chinese students expected to attend the University of Szeged


DSC03688A Hungarian program will be started at the SISU (Shanghai International Studies University) and Chinese students are interested in the Communication Studies of Szeged. The delegation from the SZTE had fruitful negotiations in China.

The Board of Directors, which consists of the Hungarian and Chinese university leaders that founded the Confucius Institute, which operates in Szeged, listened to the report of the Chinese and Hungarian Director of the Institute. This year the report and summary of the 2015 plans took place in China at the Shanghai International Studies University. This was one of the reasons the delegation of the universitas on the bank of river Tisza – including Chancellor Miklós Devecz, Krisztina Karsai Vice-Rector for Education and István Ujhelyi the President of the Board of Directors of the SZTE Confucius Institute and member of the European Parliament – visited China at the end of March 2015.

“Ambitious but feasible plans were summarized by the Directors of the Confucius Institute. I consider it joyful that instead of the one occasion, the first provincial Confucius Institute intends to teach Chinese language courses five days a week in Makó.” – Miklós Devecz highlighted one example of this years’s rich program of the Institution that is connected to the University. The Chancellor of the SZTE stated they have made another step towards starting a Hungarian program in 2016. “We are going to provide all the necessary support for the Shanghai University to launch the Hungarian program.” – he emphasized.

Worth further noting is that the idea to enable young people to study in the Hungarian program at the Shanghai University emerged in 2013.

The hosts were very much interested in the report about future research opportunities that lie in the ELI that is just being built in Szeged and they wanted to gain more information about possibilities of future cooperation.

“Europe is turning towards China. One of the signs of this is that there is great interest in media and communication programs. Chinese are keen on learning the operation of European media, media studies, rules and practices of communication” – the Chancellor of the SZTE referred to prospects of new cooperation. According to Miklós Devecz the number of Chinese students studying in Szeged can be increased with the help of student mobility and new training programs. In addition to negotiating the Hungarian delegation also signed a memorandum of understanding at the Shanghai Institute for European Studies (SIES). The Hungarian delegation was welcome with special attention by the SIES. This was reflected in the fact that the president of the Confucius Institute and member of the European Parliament István Ujhelyi was appointed as Honorary Councillor for European Studies.

As part of the rich and busy program of the SZTE delegation they have visited the 7 million inhabitant city in Hunan Province, Changshaba. There they were taken to the University founded in 976, where they negotiated about student mobility programs, media and communication as possible fields of cooperation.

“Strengthening Chinese connections is a common interest – expressed Chancellor Miklós Devecz – it is part of Asian culture, that they like to set up business relationships with partners with whom they already have a certain degree of emotional ties. Bearing this in mind, the Confucius Institute of the University of Szeged has a special mission.” – 13.04.2015



K_MTI20150122206-749x415The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs (LIBE) held a public hearing on the human rights situation in Hungary on Thursday in Brussels. Tamás Fricz, who was to represent the pro-government Civil Unity Forum, stayed away from the hearing, arguing that it would be one-sided. EPP lawmakers demanded that a speaker should replace him but other parties present refused, noting that the list of contributors had been unanimously approved in December.

In response, the European People’s Party representatives boycotted the hearing. Veronika Móra, head of Hungarian NGO Ökotárs, said that after ten years of stability, the civil sector in Hungary has recently started to face worsening conditions both in legal and in financial terms. She said they fear losing the achievements of the previous years and will be unable to plan for the long term. Attila Mong, vice editor of watchdog NGO portal, briefed the participants at the hearing about the media in Hungary, insisting that journalists in the country are subject to increasing political pressure. He raised the issue of the new ad tax, insisting the tax targeted commercial news channel RTL Klub, which, he said, recently added politics to its news mix. State adverts mainly appear in media that are loyal to the government, he said. István Ujhelyi and Tibor Szanyi, MEPs representing the opposition Socialists (MSZP), issued a statement after the hearing, saying that Hungary’s rule of law is subject to systemic threat, adding that the hearing had been “a new chapter in the international isolation of the Orbán regime”.

Hungary’s government spokesman Zoltán Kovács compared the hearing to a soap opera in which “not only the actors but even the scriptwriter has no idea what the piece should be about”. He insisted that the majority of subjects at the hearing had been closed issues, which were now being cited for political reasons. He rejected Móra’s claim that civil society is under threat as “unserious,” arguing that the government has issues with merely a dozen of Hungary’s 80,000 or so NGOs. Kovács also brushed off accusations that the Hungarian government is anti-democratic and authoritarian. Kovács insisted that the Council of Europe’s recent report contained factual errors in several sections. He rejected the parts referring to an upsurge in anti-Semitism and anti- Roma attitudes, and noted statements by Hungarian Jewish and Roma organisations to the opposite effect. Kinga Gál, a MEP for governing FIDESZ, said the debate had been entirely one-sided, addressing issues “discussed to death” since 2010. – 01.23.2015



DSC02906Hungary’s government commits fraud when it tries to disburse European Union funding on the basis of political affiliation, Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi, the party’s deputy leader, said in Brussels. Ujhelyi said he was drawing conclusions from a reply the EU’s anti-fraud office (OLAF) had given the Socialist Party (MSZP).

He said that by last autumn it had been suspected that OLAF’s answer would make clear that the Hungarian government should not disburse EU funding to localities based on their leadership’s party affiliation. Further, “government politicians should not blackmail Hungarian voters,” he said. “It cannot be said, as the state secretaries, the speaker of parliament and several other leading Fidesz politicians had said, that only those municipalities would get a good deal from EU development funds over the next few years that have an orange [Fidesz] mayor,” Ujhelyi added.

He quoted OLAF’s reply, saying that the “situation outlined in your letter raises the suspicion that in the current situation the disbursement of EU funds does not completely abide by the effective European regulations and that the principle of transparency is not fully respected.” The Socialist politician called on the government to put EU funding towards worthwhile projects based on the professional considerations while treating every municipality on a level playing field. – 01.21.2015



ujheUnder changes effective from 1st of January 2015, e-stickers have been introduced for individual counties and Budapest’s M0 bypass, which will cost an annual 5,000 forints, or 16 euros. Opposition LMP said it would take the new law to the constitutional court for review, as the party believes the short notice given before the road toll’s introduction hurts citizens’ rights to legal security. The motion needs support from a quarter of lawmakers. Meanwhile a Hungarian Socialist MEP has demanded that the government should publish impact studies related to its introduction of a new road toll system.

István Ujhelyi, who is deputy chairman of the European Parliament’s transport and tourism committee, said, citing a letter he wrote to the minister of national development, that the “propaganda” of the government of Viktor Orbán was “painfully cynical” in that it gave the impression that the new toll amounted “to a reduction in costs for motorists”. He accused the government of “milking” motorists and hauliers who use the motorway network, thereby placing an extra cost burden on all sorts of sectors such as tourism. Ujhelyi demanded to know how much investment would be needed to fully implement the changes to the system and which sections of the budget the government intended to use to finance these.

Éva Kurucz, the government spokeswoman, said earlier that the government had mulled plans for a county-based payment system for roads for years. She added that impact studies had been carried out and these would be made public. Previously PM Viktor Orbán had told public radio Kossuth that drivers would have the option to pay an annual 5,000 forints (EUR 16) for using the motorway within a county instead of the annual 41,000 forints charged earlier for the whole country. Commenting on the introduction of a toll on the M0 Budapest bypass, he said the aim is not to impose a tax on the agglomeration. However, the introduction of the new county-based road toll system has rather generated disappointment, anger and uncertainty across Hungary so far in the first days of 2015. – 01.05.2015



DSC03583The opposition Socialist Party (MSZP) wants to launch a campaign to return Hungary to its European democratic values, deputy leader of the party and MEP István Ujhelyi said. The Orbán government is taking life-threatening steps in international politics and, as a result, Hungary has isolated itself to a degree unseen in decades, he said.

Ujhelyi called on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to return to his 2009 idea about Hungary’s prosperity within a strong Europe and commit himself again to European values while giving up “double talk” and “secret pacts” which seek to weaken the European Union. Orbán is a politician who changes tack with the wind and an autocrat who is building a single-party system, Ujhelyi insisted, adding that his politics could have unimaginable consequences.

“What seemed like the clever dance of the peacock for a while is now a tragic Russian roulette”, he said. Hungary needs security and strong allies as well as the opportunity to tap on EU development funding. Instead, Orbán is driving the country out of the European Union, István Ujhelyi said. – 12.29.2014




mtivitaujhelyiAhead of a European parliamentary debate on the situation in Hungary left-wing opposition MEPs briefed Hungarian journalists on Tuesday evening. István Ujhelyi, head of the Hungarian delegation to the Social Democratic group, accused the government of Viktor Orbán of “plundering and impoverishing Hungary” and bringing the country’s reputation in Europe and the United States to an all-time low. Csaba Molnár, the MEP of DK, who also belongs to the Social Democratic group, referred to reports that the United States has banned certain Hungarian officials from entering the United States for suspected corruption. Benedek Jávor, the MEP for Együtt-PM, who belongs to the Green group, said he primarily wanted to highlight the Hungarian authorities’ harassing of the civil sector and “the corruption affairs of the Orbán administration”.

Tamás Deutsch, the MEP for Fidesz in the EPP group, told Hungarian journalists that Hungary is a strong and stable democracy. He suggested that the real reason that the left-wing had prompted the debate in Strasbourg was connected with their having suffered their third heavy electoral loss this year. Earlier in the day Richárd Hörcsik of the ruling Fidesz party told the method used by the Hungarian left is alien to the EP and weakens the representation of national interests. The European liberals and Socialists have been urged by the Hungarian left-wing parties to again deal with Hungary in front of the EP plenary, Hörcsik said.

Meanwhile, as has reported, President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker secured confirmation for his new Commission from MEPs today in Strasbourg, winning over a grand coalition of Socialists and centre-right MEPs. Hungary‘s nominee, Tibor Navracsics, will no longer handle the citizenship portfolio, Juncker said, responding to MEPs criticisms about Navracsics’ ties to the Hungarian government, which has clashed with the EU on civil rights issues. The portfolio will instead go to the new home affairs commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos of Greece, while Navracsics will be assigned to Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. – 10.22.2014



I20It will be a central issue in the new European Parliament whether the EU should move forward towards deepening integration or allow member states a broader scope of manoeuvre, Hungarian MEPs told reporters. The European lawmakers representing five Hungarian parties were asked to share their views, prospects and dilemmas about the EU’s future.

Kinga Gál, representing the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrats, said that the EU had operated smoothly until it came to facing the economic crisis. As the EU “was not designed to carry out crisis management”, its response to the crisis was cumbersome, she said. What the EU member states have created must by all means be preserved and all of them must equally feel that their interests are duly enforced, she added.

István Ujhelyi, representing the opposition Socialists, urged strengthening the EU’s ties with its citizens. He also urged direct exchange of information between local governments and Brussels. Local leaders, he said, should be made familiar with the operation of European parliamentary committees so that they are able to bid successfully for the available funds, he said.

Tamás Meszerics, representing green party LMP, argued that the issue of the kind of Europe that had to be built should be put into focus. “Before launching a debate about the concept of a United States of Europe, the democratic deficit of the EU institutions should be tackled,” he said.

Csaba Molnár, representing the leftist Democratic Coalition (DK), noted his party’s strong pro-European stance. DK is the only Hungarian party advocating a “United States of Europe,” he said, adding that “national sovereignty was an ideal of the 19th century.” He called for a stronger and more efficient central decision-making process in the EU.

Zoltán Balczó, of radical nationalist Jobbik, said his party’s agenda is not fundamentally anti-European. The party only disagrees with the direction the EU is going in, he said. In Jobbik’s view, Brussels seeks to limit the member states scope of self-determination to an unacceptable degree, Balczó said. – 10.15.2014

MEPs and stakeholders jointly call on the creation of a parliamentary intergroup on Tourism to foster growth and jobs


DSC00783In an event co-hosted today by MEP Ana-Claudia Tapardel and MEP István Ujhelyi in the presence of Vice-President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, MEPs from various political groups and tourism stakeholders agreed that an intergroup on tourism is needed to bring coherence to the European Parliament’s work on tourism and foster growth and jobs creation.

MEPs and stakeholders acknowledged that tourism is one of the biggest drivers for growth in Europe and a key provider of new jobs. As it makes an overall contribution of 9% to the EU’s GDP and employs 10% of the total EU workforce, Vice-President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani stressed that “Tourism is essential for Europe’s competitiveness and must remain at the core of the political agenda”.

MEPs and stakeholders also agreed that the creation of an intergroup on Tourism would allow the European Parliament to adopt a more holistic and coherent approach to the Parliament’s tourism work. This would also maximise its impact on Europe’s competitiveness.

“Thousands of jobs are created every year in this sector, and still the European Parliament work on tourism lacks coherence. We need an intergroup to tackle this” commented Kent Nyström, President of HOTREC, the trade association representing the European hospitality industry.

“The Tourism sector is the industry of Peace. Unfortunately, many policy issues with a direct impact on tourism are not falling within the competence of the TRAN (Transport & Tourism) Committee. An intergroup with MEPs from various committees is needed to adopt coherent policies”, explained MEP István Ujhelyi, Vice-Chair of the TRAN Committee.

“Given the wide cross-party support received so far from many MEPs, I am glad to call on the various political groups of the European Parliament to now provide their official endorsement for the creation of this intergroup.” concluded MEP Ana-Claudia Tapardel.

The establishment of an intergroup requires the support of at least 3 political groups. Political groups will vote on their priority list of intergroups in November, for a final approval in December. – 08.10.2014.

Hungarian delegation visits Confucius Institute Brussels


Delegation_hungary-704x316On October 1 we welcomed Member of the European Parliament Istvan Ujhelyi, who is the Vice-Chair of the Transport and Tourism Committee at the European Parliament and also member of the Chinese Delegation.  Mr. Ujhelyi is is a strong supporter and organizer of the Chinese-Hungarian and Chinese-European relations and is  the founder of the Confucius Institute in Szeged (Csongrad county, Hungary).  During this visits both delegations exchanged information and talked about the possible cooperation. – 01.10.2014


EU scales tipped HUF 8 billion in Hungary’s favour


ovbarrosoJosé Manuel Barroso, the outgoing President of the European Commission, has handed Prime Minister Viktor Orbán the documents of the partnership agreement Hungary is signing with the Commission.
Barroso said the European Union has been successful in addressing the financial crisis and is now on its way to emerging from it, thanks to solidarity and taking responsibility. “Hungary is one of the biggest beneficiaries of European solidarity,” he said. Between 2007 and 2013 the EU had supported over 63 development projects, spending HUF 8,200 billion. In 2014-2020 Hungary will receive HUF 8 billion more than what it contributes to the EU budget, Barroso said, adding that the funding should be spent as efficiently as possible.
EU funding will hold many advantages for the Hungarian economy and the Hungarian people, and the country can become much more developed by 2020, he said. The past decade had been full of exceptional challenges for Europe; the large-scale enlargement in 2004 and then others later in the decade, almost doubling membership in just ten years. But the Commission has been able to help Europe stay unified and open and to become stronger in a globalised era, he added.
The partnership agreement Hungary is signing with the European Commission serves the interests of the country in their entirety, Orbán said after receiving the document. He said the aim was to channel 60% of the available funding into the Hungarian economy and added that Barroso had been supportive of that aim.
The system of handling and managing funds has been simplified and made more transparent to better serve the government’s economic policy on development, which the union has also accepted, Orbán said. The amount of money taken out of the country in the form of profits by foreign investors about equalled the amount of EU funding received by the country. “In other words, if we did not have an EU subsidy system, the balance of the national economy would tip,” he said.

Hungary was screened head to toe: Orbán
If the money were used wisely, Hungary could be a well-developed country in seven years, able to finance itself and pay off its debt ahead of time. Hungary in the ten years of “finding its place” in the EU and especially in the post-2010 period has built into the Union’s framework of policies its own social and economic models, Orbán said.
It had also accepted the EU’s basic pillars of democracy, market economy, national sovereignty and enhanced European integration. He noted that because of its disputes with the EU, Hungary is the only member state which has been screened “from head to toe” in terms of being in line with European values.
This was due to the country adopting a new constitution relatively late. The disputes had been settled, with the exception of changes to the ombudsman’s post, which was still pending approval by the Commission.
“Hungary has always accepted the Commission as the only impartial party within the Union,” Orbán said, thanking Barroso for the fair and equal treatment given to Hungary.
The agreement paves the way for investments worth EUR 21.9 billion in Cohesion Policy funding over 2014-2020. Hungary is also receiving EUR 3.45 billion for rural development and EUR 39 million for fisheries and the maritime sector.

Nothing to be proud of: opposition
The opposition Socialist Party and the Democratic Coalition voiced sharp criticism over the government’s EU policy after Hungary received the agreement on EU funding.
The Socialists said Orbán is a lot less militant with the European Union when “the enemy comes with a bag of money” than in other situations. Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi said that while “European values stink for Orbán, euros received as a gift do not”.
Ujhelyi insisted that most projects in Hungary are financed from community funds, and without Europe’s assistance the national economy would soon go bankrupt. That is why, he said, Hungary should have an appropriate share of Europe’s resources.
He accused the ruling parties of “blackmailing” towns and cities through suggesting that if their residents vote for other parties, further developments could not be financed, and insisted that the financing comes from the EU rather than from the government.
“The government has also lied that they had successfully negotiated financing for the next cycle, whereas we will get a few billion euros less than before,” Ujhelyi said. From 2014-2020, EU cohesion funding for Hungary will be actually reduced by HUF 150,000 per capita, he argued.
According to the Democratic Coalition (DK), Orbán has “nothing to be proud of” because he had only managed to secure HUF 1,300 billion less for 2014-2020 than DK head Ferenc Gyurcsány had negotiated for the previous cycle when he was prime minister. DK’s managing deputy chair, Csaba Molnár, said “this shows which prime minister has been more successful and who was considered as an equal partner in the EU”. – 19.09.2014