European Socialists Slam Hungarian Right-Wing At Congress Held In Budapest


socialists-749x415Addressing the 10th congress of the Party of European Socialists (PES), the Hungarian Socialist Party’s leader, József Tóbiás, called the “politics of hate” a dead end. A migration policy based on “internal solidarity” and “shared responsibility” in the EU would lead to a good outcome, he insisted. The Socialists have a common belief that all men are created equal, and no one should be excluded on the basis of their origin, religion, or political opinion, Tóbiás said, adding that whoever counters these principles excludes himself from Europe.

The Hungarian left-wing leader noted that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had faced criticism from people in his own political grouping in Europe, the European People’s Party, because they found it awkward to stand by a “pro-death penalty, hateful, anti-refugee, radical politician”. The Hungarian government has chosen to go down a path of segregation and labelling instead of embracing open, inclusive and tolerant policies, he said. The government’s fostered work schemes and “hateful billboard campaigns” are not suitable for fighting poverty today, he said, adding that a country with a large income gap, vulnerability and “no hope for a future” cannot be successful. There is no doubt that radical nationalist Jobbik would pursue the same policies were it in government, he added. The Socialist leader insisted that his party would be the only one capable of replacing the government in the 2018 general election.

Lajos Korózs, the Socialist deputy head of parliament’s welfare committee, said the government makes “inhumane” decisions, hurting the poor and singling out the homeless. This is unacceptable on the left, he said. István Újhelyi, the party’s deputy leader, said it is “worrying” that Hungary and the EU has “started off on the wrong foot” regarding youth unemployment, which has now reached 5.5 million for the under-25 age group in Europe. He added that since 2010 the number of Hungarians working abroad has risen manifold and Orbán had made Hungary a “country of emigrants”.

The three-day congress began on Friday afternoon with some 800 delegates in attendance. PES reelected Sergei Stanishev as president. After the vote, Stanishev told a press conference that problems could not be resolved through declaring immigrants scapegoats or mulling reintroduction of the death penalty. He added that the tendency of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz banning European values in the country is unacceptable. Martin Schulz, (Socialist) president of the European Parliament, said whereas European countries may be on a democratic path, more and more questions are being raised concerning fundamental democratic values.

15-06-2015 / via

“Reinforced trade, investments and tourism with China will boost European economy and employment” say S&Ds


Following the meeting held in Shanghai with Shang Yuying, DG of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, the S&D delegation praised the implementation of a legal and tariff regulation framework that favours the opening of their market to foreign and European investment. A model of best practice that should be taken as a model for the whole of China.

The S&D delegation led by the Group president, Gianni Pittella, and composed of Victor Boştinaru, S&D Group vice-president responsible for foreign affairs, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero, member of the international trade committee and the delegation for relations with Southeast Asia (ASEAN), and István Ujhelyi, vice-president of the transport and tourism committee and member of the China-EU parliamentary delegation, stressed the fundamental role that tourism between China and Europe will play in boosting both economies.

Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero, member of the inta committee, stated:
“The Free Trade Area in Shanghai is one of the best way to attract foreign investment and to widen the Chinese market to European companies. For China, this model represents a good practice based on a comprehensive legal framework and a market-oriented tariffs and duties system. Nevertheless, there are still improvements to be made that can facilitate the creation of joint ventures and cooperation between Europe and China in order to attract further European investment. We encourage the Chinese authorities to extend Shanghai’s positive model to the rest of the country. It would surely speed up the implementation of the bilateral investment treaty with the EU for mutual benefit of both the European and Chinese economic systems.”

István Ujhelyi, vice-president of the transport and tourism committee, highlighted:
“The tourism industry between China and Europe must become the genuine engine of the European economic system in the near future. Over 3.7 million Chinese tourists visited Europe in 2015. 10% of European GDP is generated by the tourism industry. More than a 100 million Chinese will travel for tourism by the 2020, according to WTO reports. All these figures clearly show that the increasing tourism flows from China may represent a fundamental engine to reinvigorate the European economy. Tourism means jobs, through improved infrastructure and long-term investment. The competition coming from the rest of the world will be substantial. Europe must therefore ready itself to capture this flow of tourists.”


The S&D Group addresses Europe’s challenges with the Hungarian youth


DSC03869Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament are in Budapest to exchange ideas and to propose initiatives for a more progressive Europe, a European Union that can create growth and jobs, especially for the young, and a European Union that reinforces the principle of solidarity.

Leading S&D members of the EU Parliament participated yesterday evening in a debate with young Hungarians in the context of the series of Relaunching Europe events, with the next event taking place in Warsaw in September.

S&D president Gianni Pittella said:
“We are here in Budapest because we are friends with Hungary, with the Hungarian people. We know the high expectations they had when they joined the European Union after the nightmare of communism.
“Many fables have been told about Europe lately in this country. That it wants to interfere in Hungary’s internal affairs, for example. That is just not true. A climate of mistrust was created, and in this climate the issue of the death penalty has been reintroduced to the public discourse. Death penalty is against values and European law. We are here because we want to walk with our Hungarian friends on the path toward more democracy and greater respect of fundamental rights, unlike Viktor Orbán, who is taking Hungary in the opposite direction.
“Some Europeans are angry, particularly the young, because their expectations have not been fulfilled. And they are right. But the shortcomings in job opportunities, social cohesion and a fair economy are the consequence of the austerity imposed by the Conservatives. We must change Europe. Let’s do it together.”

Hungarian MEP István Ujhelyi said:
“Our S&D colleagues are here because they care about Hungary. We have to work together for a stronger Europe, one that can answer the demands of its citizens. One out of five Europeans aged under 25 are unemployed. As of yet the Commission has not found solutions, to open a horizon of opportunity for them. So these young people have become disillusioned with politics or are turning to populist and even radical movements. The S&Ds propose measures. Nice words are not enough. We want actions.”
István Ujhelyi presented a policy paper for “The next generation of Europeans” with five objectives: to reach full employment for everyone aged under 25; to minimise forced migration triggered by economic conditions; to protect young generations from radical voices; to increase political activity and support the new politically active generation.

Hungarian MEP Péter Niedermüller added:
“We are the engine of change in the EU. We push for investment, for job creation, for solidarity and equality, and we fight fiscal dumping, social dumping and tax evasion. These are the pillars of our work in the European Parliament.
“Through conferences like this one we renew our leadership and our philosophy, we address the younger generations because we want to be the strongest political group in Europe to be able to build a better union.”
Interactive panel discussions were held between MEPs and members of Hungarian civil society, as well as three workshops on emigration in Hungary, youth employment opportunities and EU foreign policy.

12/06/2015 – Budapest

“The next generation of Europeans” – policy paper



Edited by: István Ujhelyi MEP

“How absurd! Calling youth the age of happiness; the age when everyone is the most vulnerable!” – said Agatha Christie. She was definitely right from the point of view that younger generations are more vulnerable, easier to influence and therefore they also deserve more attention. Although being young comes with less responsibility and pressure, unfortunately the renowned author was right again in a sense that today’s youth faces previously unseen challenges.
Here in Europe the new generation struggles with serious unemployment triggered by the economic crisis. They are forced to leave their homeland because of economic reasons. In addition the general hopelessness and radicalization, the disunity of the European community, and the lack of political transparency all give the impression that Europe is weaker and further away than ever. Thus it is down to us, young social democrats, to step forward as examples to follow and pave the way for future generations.

The first goal is to reach full employment for everyone aged 25 and younger
Today in Europe more than 5.5 million young people are unemployed. This means that every fifth person below the age of 25 does not have a job. Following the crisis unemployment increased especially among the youth, now reaching a staggering 20%. This is twice as much than overall unemployment in Europe – examining all age groups – and nearly three times as much as in the 25 and older group. Those who are not getting any education number up to 7 million. We, young social democrats must target full employment for everyone below the age of 25 in the European Union. Initiatives of the European Commission have not really been up to the expectations: the Youth Guarantee has been implemented by only a few member states and other funds targeting to lower youth unemployment are still intact – although they truly have the potential to help. The S&D Group must review and evaluate these programmes and its effects in practical terms. We, the S&D40 Group suggests to set up a monitoring body that shall assess what has been achieved and come up with proposals towards both the party and the Commission on how to ensure that projects aiming to eliminate youth unemployment are more successful.

The second goal is to minimize forced migration triggered by economic conditions
Forced migration has been accelerated since the European borders have vanished. Effects of the economic crisis also boosted this phenomenon as more and more people were forced to migrate because of economic reasons. Predominantly from Eastern-Europe (Romania, Hungary, Poland) hundreds of thousands fled to Western-European countries to look for work. Therefore the principles of free movement of workers and free movement of persons must remain a cornerstone of the comprehensive and borderless European value system. The economic crisis – coupled with political crisis at some places – is producing more and more economic migrants, now in a quantity that it becomes extremely hard to handle. They are mainly coming from younger generations leaving their homes not because they seek adventure, not in order to study; but because they are simply seek means of subsistence. Throughout Europe there is intense debate around the reform of social benefits (the re-elected David Cameron for instance is about to cut benefits for foreign workers) while eurosceptics are fuelling their xenophobic and anti-European campaign using the social tension generated by the crisis. We, young social democrats have a dual role to play. First, we must find solution to provide young generations with attractive opportunities at home so literally hundreds of thousands are not forced to migrate. Our new, Hungarian socialist programme, the so-called ‘Homecall-project’ (Hazaváró-program) – tailored to the Hungarian situation – aims to address this challenge. Second, we must prevent social tension causing ethnic tension as well. We must stand strong and unified to make it clear: we will not let anybody to destroy our European community and turn friendly nations against each other.

The third goal is to protect new generations from radical voices
The last elections resulted in the rapid rise of far-right parties. For example in France, Great-Britain, and also in Denmark eurosceptics won most of the votes on the European elections. It should have noticed how the populist extremism is creeping into everywhere: in Hungary the extremist Jobbik won parliamentary mandate in a by-election, the governing Fidesz started an inciting anti-immigration campaign, and in the last provincial elections in Austria, the FPÖ (which has also campaigned with anti-immigration voices) strengthened in a hard way too. While extremist parties are gaining ground we must not forget that young Europeans also turn to violent radicalism in increasing numbers. Numerous studies showed that many young people predominantly from Western-European countries have joined to Syrian and Iraqi militant groups where they engage in several brutal and inhuman actions. It is beyond doubt that we must stop extremist parties and at the same time save young people from radicalization by all means. We, young social democrats have the duty and responsibility to answer the question: why future generations of Europe turn to radicalism? Research proves that young people in Europe identify themselves with populist extremist parties mainly because they lack a strong and visible alternative from the political spectrum. The lack of proper information and targeted deception both lead to the radicalization of young people who appear to be easier to influence. We need a comprehensive strategy to combat this phenomenon. It is indispensable to find the channels that will lead us to young individuals who now feel left out from the political discourse. We must present ourselves as an attractive and genuine alternative to become pioneers in strengthening socialist and social democrat youth movements. We must identify all reasons that make extremist voices so popular and simply occupy and transform their platforms afterwards.

The fourth goal is to increase political activity and support the new politically active generation
One of the main reasons why young people are radicalized today is their growing apolitical approach. Statistical data shows that the activity of voters is at an all-time low in Europe – with some rare exceptions – as less and less people turns up to vote or express willingness to influence mainstream politics that affect everyone. European citizens, and especially younger generations are losing interest in politics as a whole. We, young social democrats must strengthen and support the politically active youth while making the entire decision-making process more transparent and appealing. The European Parliament and other European institutions have launched numerous programmes aiming to bring the democratic decision-making process closer to the citizens. With all their complexity and sluggishness Brussels and Strasbourg are still among the most transparent political frameworks, however, we need more efforts in order to include the eager youth into the decision-making process. One potentially effective solution could be the establishment of a ‘shadow youth-fraction’ within the S&D Group which could act as a bridge for youth movements and young people in all member states to step forward bringing their issues to the limelight on the European stage, and at the same time the S&D40 Group could become the melting pot for the talented and emerging future politicians and representatives while supporting their activity.

We need young people in Europe who are open, self-aware with hunger for knowledge.
Social democrats, who believe in a strong and social Europe.
People who want more Europe!
This is what we want. This is our generation!

11/06/2015/Budapest – PES Congress



Plenary session week 11 2015 in Strasbourg - European long-term investment funds

The congress of the Party of European Socialists (PES) to be held this weekend in Budapest will focus on the concepts of the United States of Europe and a “two-speed Europe”, Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi said.

István Ujhelyi said the topics to be discussed at the congress will be follow-ups to an article written by French and German economy ministers Emmanuel Macron and Sigmar Gabriel, published in The Guardian last week. The two ministers said the “survival” of Europe requires further integration and the creation of a joint treasury. Ujhelyi said the PES congress could start an internal debate on both issues. He said Hungary could not be allowed to miss out on tighter European integration. “Hungary cannot be in opposition to Europe,” he said. Youth unemployment will also feature on the agenda of the congress, he added.

In November 2014, the Presidency of the Party of European Socialists agreed to organise the next PES Congress in Budapest in order to the represent the European Socialist family in Hungary. According to the Hungarian Socialists (MSZP), the event will be crucial as a “pillar of support for all the Hungarian citizens who fight for greater democracy and the respect of human rights in the country.” – 08-06-2015

Hotrec-interview of MEP István Ujhelyi about tourism policy


DSC00778Interview of MEP Istvan UJHELYI, ViceChair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism in the European Parliament

MEP István Ujhelyi is Vice-Chair of the Transport and Tourism Committe and responsible for the Tourism Task Force. He is also a key member of the Parliamentary Intergroup on the Development of European Tourism Cultural Heritage, Ways of Saint James and other European cultural routes. HOTREC asked Mr. Ujhelyi (S&D, Hungary) to share his views on the role of the Task Force on Tourism as well as on other relevant topics impacting tourism.

– How do you intend to foster tourism within the context of the Task Force on Tourism?
– The real importance of the Tourism Task Force (TTF) is that those Members of the Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) who think that tourism is an independent policy in political and economic terms, have applied to participate in the activities of TTF. MEPs have the possibility to draft proposals in line with the topics impacting the Tourism sector, which will be submitted to and discussed with the coordinators of the political groups in the TRAN Committee. The real consultation, – as channelling the needs of the tourism industry -, was always important for me, for these reasons we announced the development of the Tourism On The S.P.O.T (Special Partnership On Tourism) program that aims at fostering a closer cooperation between the European institutions and the tourism sector. I take into account all the players. As for the Tourism Task Force, it acts as an integral part of the TRAN Committee as its official programmes are included in the official Agenda of the Committee. The main task of the TTF is the screening of all the EU legislation on the political agenda and selection of the topics that impact tourism in order to make a link to the fields where the TRAN Committee can draft an official position. This happened, for example, with the VISA package where finally only the TRAN Committee would give an opinion to the two reports that had been drafted by the LIBE Committee. These two reports are, the re-cast of VISA Code regulation and the newly introduced touring VISA. I have to say, therefore, that the Tourism Task Force is an important and significant influential professional body of the TRAN Committee.

– What is your opinion on the visa package proposed by the European Commission especially with regard to the economic impact that the proposal will bring to the tourism sector when approved?
– It is clear that the visa-facilitation helps to increase the number of tourists arriving from third countries. In fact, the European Commission’s study analysed the economic benefits that could result of the visa-facilitation. Personally, I share these views. For the time being the main difference among the positions of the political Groups of the Parliament is the enforcement of safety aspects – further applying stricter rules, and at the same time highlighting the economic advantages (more tourist arrivals) – as it means facilitation. The question is how to preserve the security in parallel to taking advantage of the economic benefits? Of course, there are also specific areas and issues for the maritime and aviation industries, which should be included in the opinions.

– What is your opinion about the impact of the sharing/shadow hospitality economy on the traditional tourism sector?
– The so-called “sharing economy”, namely the share-based economy, is actually the child of a new generation of industrial revolution, which now appears to significantly transform the lives of the sectors concerned. The progression, the development of better and cheaper services as more widely spread and emergence is definitely positive, and we have to support it and it should be encouraged. However, such influential initiatives that have huge impact on economy and social life, can not be left unregulated in the interest of both the market participants and the consumers who are using these
services. The same regulations do not apply for the new, progressive and uncontrolled “players” compared to the older, traditional operators. It is not fair at all, why new operators can evade certain obligations opposed to the traditional participants? I stand by the hotel industry players on this topic. The economy based on sharing undoubtedly creates competition, which could reduce prices and improve the quality of services, which is forward-looking; but if the conditions of the competition are not identical, it is unfair and creates market distortion. In my view, an integrated EU guideline is needed to settle the situation of both traditional and new actors.

Hotrec newsletter – Live from Brussels Issue 70 (21.May 2015)



DSC00872According to Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the European Union, “European roots are so deep that the conception of Europe will survive each crisis and revolution” We can only confirm this. However, today the European community is suffering from its deepest crisis since the post-world-war era, and the solutions proposed so far only work on the medium term. Now, when the global geopolitical games and the global superpowers reduced our world to a Cold-War relationship, when EU skepticism is growing dangerously and extreme radicalism is dismantling our community, Europe must show unity and strength.

The sovereign nation-states are unable to either ensure their own social and economic development, or secure their physical protection individually. Although today it is not necessary to establish a United States of Europe, but a much deeper integrated alliance based on more efficient and more enhanced cooperation is urgently needed, an alliance that is able to protect itself – even against on its own Member States’ putschist amoks who refuse common European values.

Europe is under pressure from both internal and external sources at the same time; as a consequence of the financial crisis, social crisis has followed. Among the mounting effects of such challenges (with the extremists only facilitating it) are migration and social tension, which require immediate, and long-term solutions.

In addition to internal challenges, external threats are looming over our community: ongoing military conflicts on the periphery, the even more aggressively infiltrating terrorism, or the appearance of the Eurasian Union. In order to find the answers for the effective transformation we need multipolar relationships of power. The majority of the challenges are cross-border problems, therefore the European Union needs centrally coordinated solutions that are at the same time stretching over borders. The European vision, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate European project got into crisis.

New vision is needed! More Europe is needed! A different Europe is needed!

The European Community and the European project is in operational effectiveness crisis; without openly confessing this the system cannot be fine-tuned properly. The European left has been turned into a subordinate role in last electoral terms in Brussels and Strasbourg, while the effectiveness of the European Commission lead by center-right figures and the results of its ‘legislating’ performance showed that the conservative approach leads to a dead end. The European left must proudly and loudly declare: no more compromises and bargaining, it is now time to have a complete shift of prevailing paradigms! We should continue the work together jointly with FEPS in the “the Next Left” programme, and build on its results.

We are Europe, but this is not our Europe! Under the existing EU practices the Cohesion Funds are mainly provided for infrastructure related investments in the new member countries. Besides all of these necessary improvements, however, European Union money is spent far too often on unnecessary investments that are only visually satisfying but have no added value. The European Union should introduce a new priority in the allocation of resources: it is time to invest in people! For instance: we can build a new school, but we will not be able to progress if everything else remains in ruins inside the freshly whitewashed walls. Subsidies allocated for education, social services, research and development produce medium and long term, lasting results. These could constitute the post-crisis recovery program of the welfare system. These changes need to hallmark a clear and committed paradigm shift of the left side. The protection and enforcement of fundamental democratic rights is our primary task, but we have to recognize: without adequate social protection and growth only a fragile society remains that tolerates impairing its rights.

“Act, React, Impact” – This was the official motto of the 2014 EP elections. And even fewer and fewer people feel the need to be part of the European elections. Compared to the 40% turnout rate for the first time, less than 30% of the voters participated in the last EU elections in Hungary. Europe moves further away from Europeans, and even ordinary Hungarian citizens feel the benefits of EU membership less and less, even though it has an increasing influence on their daily lives. Primarily this is the fault of European institutions as they appear completely detached from citizens, separated in their ivory tower. Secondly, it is the fault of politicians and the publicity. The priority now is to get the citizens closer to the European Union and the European decision-making system. We should have more initiatives to encourage national parliaments, local governments, NGOs and ordinary citizens as well to have more influence in the EU decision-making process. The mission of all the MEPs is to maintain a regular relationship with their voters, to represent their expectations and interests even more visibly in Brussels. A more transparent and humanistic Europe must be created, otherwise the alliance cannot be strengthened.

The Party of European Socialists will hold its next Congress in Budapest this June. This event in Hungary may be a splendid beginning of this paradigm shift. We, European Democrats must show the new path, with clear objectives and well-crafted milestones for our citizens. Otherwise, regardless how deep the roots of Europe are, our mission will be jeopardized by the stormy present of European history.




ujhelyiGabor Vona, leader of the radical nationalist Jobbik, told a party congress on Saturday that “we wake up every morning ready to govern”. Vona said that Prime Minster Viktor Orban had already admitted in his state of the nation speech on Friday that the leading challenge to the ruling Fidesz party comes from Jobbik. He said that in the 2018 general election the real contest would be between Fidesz and Jobbik. “We will win the election; we’ll take a deep breath and then rebuild our country,” he said, emphasising that the political course which Jobbik was taking was in the direction of a people’s party. The Jobbik leader said the past year had been an election trial. It was already apparent at the start of 2015 that Fidesz had entered into a negative spiral of popularity, he said. The Veszprem by-election result showed that there is a mood for a change in government while the Tapolca by-election proved that a party exists, in the form of Jobbik, which can act as a governing alternative and beat Orban, he added. He said that he does not underestimate the left wing, but it is clear that the left has suffered from a lack of a programme and from disunity. For victory, a strong programme and calm force is needed, he said, adding that Orban had begun to see that there is a need to change; “and even he speaks about people-friendly policies.” Vona said this is tantamount to an admission that Fidesz had not pursued such policies in the past. But such an admission would lack credibility since it would be a mere political fancy rather than the genuine article. On the subject of the policies of a people’s party, he said that it was necessary to speak about this now, since “at the battle front” there would be no time for a tactical consultation. Vona insisted that Fidesz and the main left-wing opposition Socialist Party are rooted in the 20th century and in a fruitless struggle between them. In the meantime, however, “we live in the 21st century”. He raised the example of the memorial to the victims of the German occupation erected at the Fidesz government’s initiative in Szabadsag Square, saying: “Did we really get any further ahead with the fact that Fidesz built it and the Socialists protested against it?” The country meanwhile, he added, is “going under”, people are leaving and families are destitute. Jobbik must mobilise the country from out of the 20th century, he said. People must be shown the real fault lines, which are not those that divide right and left but those which divide the 20th and the 21st century, he added. Vona said he had come out of the trench and was being fired at from both sides. It would be better, he said, if those who see him as a Nazi would also come out of the trench and “have the bravery to say: enough is enough”. The Jobbik leader said change is painful, but whatever fails to change dies. “Whoever has a romantic Nazi yearning … has no place in this party,” he said. Fidesz lawmaker Szilard Nemeth told a news conference on Saturday that the Jobbik leader was misleading people and, “if you will, lying” in the interests of his party. “Gabor Vona has been all along misleading the members of his own party, members of the Hungarian parliament and the whole country,” he insisted. He said that Vona, in his address to parliament on Tuesday and in Jobbik’s Saturday congress, insisted that he had never represented the position that Hungary should exit the European Union. But the evidence shows otherwise, Nemeth said, citing a Jobbik press statement from 2012 as well as a public demonstration Jobbik held in the same year, in which Vona stressed that Hungary should quit the EU. The Fidesz politician added: “You can’t build in Hungary on a policy of lies … This is something we by now know very well ever since the days of Ferenc Gyurcsany,” he said, referring the former Socialist prime minister. Nemeth added that Vona had strengthened the impression that his party and he himself were similar to communists and the communist movement. Socialist deputy leader Istvan Ujhelyi said that both Jobbik and ruling Fidesz had made a “sham” turn towards Europe. In a statement sent to MTI, Ujhelyi said that the two parties were in a “pathetic and phoney” competition to prove they are not anti-EU, while “one fights a war of freedom against the community and suggests that life is possible outside the EU” and the other “burns the EU flag” and advocates quitting Hungary’s EU membership. Being European means embracing freedom, equality, and solidarity, while both Fidesz and Jobbik openly deny those European values, Ujhelyi insisted. – 30.05.2015.



ujhelyiepben1The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee will next week hold a debate on Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s proposals on migration and capital punishment, Hungarian Socialist MEP Istvan Ujhelyi told MTI on Thursday. Armin Machmer, EP President Martin Schulz’s spokesperson, confirmed that the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs would discuss the Hungarian prime minister’s proposals. Ujhelyi said the debate on Orban’s proposals was green-lit at the EP group leaders’ meeting in Strasbourg. EP group leaders said it was important to examine what the reintroduction of the death penalty would mean in an EU member state, the MEP added. Ujhelyi said the prime minister’s proposals could come up for debate at next month’s plenary session of the European Parliament. He said the prime minister has already received “harsh” criticism from EP group leaders for his proposals. Speaking on the sidelines of a conference, Hungarian Justice Minister Laszlo Trocsanyi said that despite the debates, the European Convention on Human Rights is the legal document that applies when dealing with the death penalty in Hungary. In a press release put out on Thursday, Sergei Stanishev, the Bulgarian leader of the Party of European Socialists condemned the prime minister’s proposal. Stanishev said it was “deeply sad” that a member state made “such a regressive proposal against the EU charter of fundamental rights”, given that “the EU received the Nobel peace prize for its work to maintain and promote peace.” Human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe Nils Muiznieks recently expressed concern over “the populist trend in political discourse in Hungary” in connection with Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s recent statements. The idea of starting a public debate on restoring the death penalty was flagged recently by Orban after a young woman was brutally murdered in southeast Hungary. Schulz confirmed at the EP group leaders’ meeting that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union officially outlaws the death penalty, and that the restoration of capital punishment is incompatible with EU membership. Leaders of the Liberal group submitted a letter to European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, expressing their concerns over Orban’s proposals. They asked whether the vice-president considered the Hungarian prime minister’s proposals a breach of EU law, and whether the Commission would take any action against Hungary. – 01.05.2015.



hazaváró1Hungary’s Economy Ministry has launched a scheme to entice young Hungarians back home from abroad. The first round of funding totals 100 million forints (EUR 333,000) for relocating 50 young Hungarians based mainly in London, Sándor Czomba announced. Szabolcs Pákozdi, managing director of the National Employment Foundation, said the target group includes graduates in professions with labour shortages in Hungary. They have worked at least one year abroad, speak English well and are willing to return home if they get help in accommodation and finding a stable job with decent pay. The scheme can also help participants set up a business in Hungary, he added.

Sándor Czomba said, citing data from the Central Statistical Office (KSH), that at least 50% of people taking jobs abroad return within a year. The government wants to increase this rate with its scheme. The number of Hungarians working abroad for more than a year is estimated at around 350,000 by KSH but there are no data for the actual numbers, Czomba said. Pákozdi said Hungarian firms look to employ engineers the most, but the IT, logistics, HR and financial sectors are also looking for highly skilled professionals. The scheme’s partners include Nestlé, Lufthansa, Suzuki, IT Services Hungary, Aloca-Kofem, Grundfos, Videoton and Denso, he added.

The radical nationalist Jobbik party said the government’s scheme is a “late and feeble” attempt at solving a problem in proportion with its gravity. Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi said the government’s scheme is just “window dressing” and the 50 young people now being offered relocation help are one-tenth of the number forced to emigrate over the past few years. – 23-04.2015