Hungary’s retail sales fall for fifth straight month

bne IntelliNews June 7, 2023

Retail sales in Hungary fell 13.6% year on year in April and by 12.6% when adjusted for calendar effects. The figure was below analysts’ projections.

EC bans Ukrainian grain imports to Central Europe for another five months, Kyiv bans sugar exports in response

by Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw, Ben Aris in Berlin June 6, 2023

Five EU member states bordering Ukraine will be allowed to keep some of their restrictions on imports of Ukrainian agricultural produce in place until September 15, the European Commission decided on June 5.

bneGREEN: Energy minister says geothermal powerhouse Hungary not exploiting its potential

bne IntelliNews June 6, 2023

Geothermal energy could strengthen Hungary’s energy security, replacing up to 1.5 bcm of natural gas a year.

bneGREEN: Europe saves €100bn from the switch to renewables due to the Ukraine war

Ben Aris in Berlin June 5, 2023

European electricity consumers will save some €100bn on their energy bills, due to the rapid expansion of renewable energy sources caused by the Russian induced energy crisis the International Energy Agency said in a report.

Prime Minister Orban flies to Ankara for Erdogan’s swearing-in ceremony

bne IntelliNews June 4, 2023

Prime Minister Viktor Orban attended the inauguration ceremony of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on June 3, the only representative of an EU member country to do so. No information was released on the informal talks between the two leaders.

Central Europe launches new austerity drive

Robert Anderson in Prague June 4, 2023

Czechia, Estonia and Slovakia are planning budget cuts at a time when interest rates are still painfully high and many economies have yet to emerge from recession.

Hungary’s windfall tax and rising energy costs push foreign retailers into the red in 2022

Tamas Csonka in Budapest June 2, 2023

The sector is bracing for more losses in 2023, according to the retail association OKSZ.

Hungary pushes banks and investment funds to hold more government bonds

bne IntelIiNews June 2, 2023

The government slapped a 13% tax on savings and set minimum levels for investment funds' holdings of government bonds. Banks can also cut windfall tax if they increase purchases of local government bonds.

Hungary remains in recession in Q1

Tamas Csonka in Budapest June 2, 2023

GDP fell 0.9% y/y and by 1.1% when adjusted for workdays.

EP lawmakers overwhelmingly support resolution to strip Hungary of rotating presidency

Tamas Csonka in Budapest June 2, 2023

There is growing concern that Viktor Orban's radical rightwing government, with a track record of breaching fundamental values and blocking key EU decisions, could use the presidency in 2H24 to push its own agenda.

Support for Moldova, solidarity with Ukraine at second EPC summit

bne IntelliNews June 2, 2023

European leaders stress the importance of European solidarity and affirm support for states on the continent’s Eastern Flank.

VISEGRAD BLOG: Macron makes the weather in Eastern Europe

Robert Anderson in Prague May 31, 2023

The French president tried to persuade sceptical East Europeans that they had nothing to fear from a Europe that was more self-reliant in security – and he almost pulled it off.

Hungarian government submits 2024 budget with deficit of 2.9% of GDP

Tamas Csonka in Budapest May 31, 2023

Budget is based on optimistic forecast of 4% economic growth next year and includes halving of windfall taxes on banks, pharmaceutical companies and energy suppliers.

THE VIEW FROM MITTELEUROPA: Turkish result shows that 'all for one and one for all' is rarely the best tactic to bring down a strongman

Marcus How of ViennEast Consulting in Vienna May 29, 2023

The failure of the Nation Alliance under optimal conditions shows that 'big tent' coalitions under a single list often do not succeed in extending the opposition's reach.

Freedom House says Ukraine war threatens democracy across Emerging Europe

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow May 25, 2023

Democratic governance deteriorates in Emerging Europe and Central Asia, with worst declines in already authoritarian regions.

Hungarian central bank begins monetary easing

Tamas Csonka in Budapest May 23, 2023

The MNB's monetary council cut the O/N rate by 100bp to 17% but left the base rate on hold at 13%

Austria protests as Hungary starts releasing human traffickers early

Tamas Csonka in Budapest May 23, 2023

Orban's regime, notorious for its anti-migration rhetoric, says it cannot keep holding the traffickers, citing high costs and overcrowded jails.

EBRD 2023: Bank to expand into the whole of Africa plus Iraq

Ben Aris In Samarkand May 18, 2023

The first investments are due to begin in six counties in sub-Saharan Africa in 2025.

EC budget control committee finds string of shortcomings in Hungary

Tamas Csonka in Budapest May 18, 2023

Justice ministry says delegation had “put forward political expectations beyond the EU’s conditionality procedure and super milestones".

Hungary blocks next tranche of EU military support for Ukraine

Tamas Csonka in Budapest May 17, 2023

Hungarian move follows reports that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy suggested that Druzhba (Friendship) oil pipeline to Hungary should be blown up.