Hungary and the SGP

This forum is the place to have more serious discussions about politics and religion, and your opinions thereof. Be courteous!

Moderator: Forum Administrators

Forum rules
When a registered user insults another person (user or not), nation, political group or religious group, s/he will be deprived of her/his permission to post in the forum. That user has the right to re-register one week after s/he has lost the permission. Further violations will result in longer prohibitions.

By default, you are automatically registered to post in this forum. However, users cannot post in the politics forum during the first week after registration. Users can also not make their very first post in the politics forum.
User avatar
hlysnan
Posts: 3112
Joined: 2010-04-04, 6:21
Real Name: J.
Gender: male
Location: Sydney
Country: AU Australia (Australia)

Hungary and the SGP

Postby hlysnan » 2012-02-23, 11:20

EU's unprecedented £417m punishment for Hungary

Hungary is to be stripped of Brussels funding aimed at Europe's poorest regions and worth £417 million next year in punishment for breaking EU rules on budget deficits, under a European Commission proposal.

The Commission demanded the penalty, which is "unprecedented" in the EU's history, on Wednesday - despite the fact that Hungary is not a member of the euro and 22 other countries are also in breach of European spending targets.

The sanction will hit Hungary hard in the midst of an economic slowdown and would lead to the cancellation of much needed roads, energy and environment infrastructure projects in the country's poorest areas, some of Europe's most deprived regions.

Hungary has denounced the proposal, which must be supported by other EU countries, as "unfounded and unfair" amid a series of rows between the Commission and the Hungarian government.

Last month the EU's unelected executive threatened Hungary with legal action over new laws said to restrict the independence of its central bank by making its officials swear an oath to the Hungarian parliament.

Olli Rehn, the EU's economic and monetary affairs commissioner, said he was making an example of Hungary for its constant breaching of the budget deficit rules, and gave it until the end of the year to implement new austerity measures.

"This decision is to be regarded as an incentive to correct a deviation, not as a punishment. It is a fair and proportionate measure of a preventive nature," he said.

"Restoring confidence in the Hungarian economy and supporting the prosperity of Hungarian citizens is the goal of our decision today."

The EU's "excessive deficit" rules require member states to keep their budget overspends below three per cent of national GDP and overall debt at 60 per cent of national wealth.

Hungary has drawn attention to the fact that it's budget deficit was below three per cent of GDP in 2011 and is forecast to remain below that target level in 2012.

Moreover Hungary's economy grew at 1.7 per cent growth rate in 2011, 0.1 of a percentage point higher than the EU as a whole.

"The facts prove that the government's economic policy is taking Hungary in a good direction," the Hungarian government said in a statement.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9098645 ... ngary.html

User avatar
hlysnan
Posts: 3112
Joined: 2010-04-04, 6:21
Real Name: J.
Gender: male
Location: Sydney
Country: AU Australia (Australia)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby hlysnan » 2012-02-23, 11:24

Any penalties for France and Germany, then?

Thoughts?

User avatar
Varislintu
Posts: 15330
Joined: 2004-02-09, 13:32
Real Name: M.
Gender: female
Location: Helsinki
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby Varislintu » 2012-02-23, 13:00

The Hungarian government deserves this, but naturally the people will end up paying for it. On the other hand they voted for the government.
Det finns ingen
tröst. Därför
behöver du den inte
(Gösta Ågren)

User avatar
hlysnan
Posts: 3112
Joined: 2010-04-04, 6:21
Real Name: J.
Gender: male
Location: Sydney
Country: AU Australia (Australia)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby hlysnan » 2012-02-23, 13:17

Varislintu wrote:The Hungarian government deserves this, but naturally the people will end up paying for it. On the other hand they voted for the government.

Are you specifically referring to the current government? I ask this because Hungary has been breaching the SGP criteria since 2004, and it was only in 2010 that Fidesz came to power.

User avatar
Varislintu
Posts: 15330
Joined: 2004-02-09, 13:32
Real Name: M.
Gender: female
Location: Helsinki
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby Varislintu » 2012-02-23, 22:44

hlysnan wrote:
Varislintu wrote:The Hungarian government deserves this, but naturally the people will end up paying for it. On the other hand they voted for the government.

Are you specifically referring to the current government? I ask this because Hungary has been breaching the SGP criteria since 2004, and it was only in 2010 that Fidesz came to power.


Yes, this government for its sheer incompetency and malpractice. I mean, practically nationalising the private pension fund to fill holes in the budget? I'm not an expert on Hungary, and I hope I'm not in full misunderstanding of what has happened there (most of it has been relayed to me by my Hungarian boyfirend), but it seems to me the people in the government are pretty much only concerned about directing money and power to their own circle of friends rather than using it wisely. Whether it's EU money or Hungarian tax payer money probably makes no difference. They also seem to be sneaking nationalist and religious sentiments into the people's lives, and have tried to hinder opposition voices from being heard (like booking all public areas for a long time forward so the opposition can't stage events).

Okay, I know those issues are not really the topic of your thread, but even just the economic side of the Hungarian story is worrying. They introduce an unprogressive, level income tax of 15% without major cuts to the size of their spending. I mean, this is still a country that offers European style free or strongly subsidised medical care and education to its people, for example. No wonder if the money is kinda running a bit low in the coffers... The infuriating thing is that this isn't (from what I gather) unlucky events or too naive thinking by the government, it's done more in the air of "we know this won't work, but we're just grabbing all the money we can while we're in power".

But well, there are more informed people on Unilang than me on this issue -- if I've gotten something wrong I'd gladly be corrected.
Det finns ingen
tröst. Därför
behöver du den inte
(Gösta Ågren)

User avatar
JackFrost
Forum Administrator
Posts: 16240
Joined: 2004-11-08, 21:00
Real Name: Jack Frost
Gender: male
Location: Montréal, Québec
Country: CA Canada (Canada)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby JackFrost » 2012-02-23, 23:59

My first thought: maybe they should've been more concerned about that than wasting a lot of time messing up the constitution and the neutrality of certain state institutions to reinforce the government's hold on power and imprint on the governing structures.

Kenny will be better qualified to make a better comment on this (and allowing him to vent out).

Any penalties for France and Germany, then?

Well, they're the ones who set the precedent. They broke the same rules some years ago (during a non-recession period I may add) and the EU Commission let them off. It was a huge mistake and it's nice they're coming around to enforce those rules. Let's see if they'll have the balls to go after the big countries in the future.
Neferuj paħujkij!

User avatar
hlysnan
Posts: 3112
Joined: 2010-04-04, 6:21
Real Name: J.
Gender: male
Location: Sydney
Country: AU Australia (Australia)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby hlysnan » 2012-02-24, 0:33

Varislintu wrote:Yes, this government for its sheer incompetency and malpractice. I mean, practically nationalising the private pension fund to fill holes in the budget?

Well, that is disappointing.

Varislintu wrote:I'm not an expert on Hungary, and I hope I'm not in full misunderstanding of what has happened there (most of it has been relayed to me by my Hungarian boyfirend), but it seems to me the people in the government are pretty much only concerned about directing money and power to their own circle of friends rather than using it wisely.

I think you would need to explain this to me though. How are they directing money to their own circle of friends?

Varislintu wrote:Okay, I know those issues are not really the topic of your thread, but even just the economic side of the Hungarian story is worrying. They introduce an unprogressive, level income tax of 16% without major cuts to the size of their spending.

Economists are generally very much in favour of flat taxes. It simplifies the tax system and encourages skilled workers to stay in the country. We know that Central and Eastern Europe are experiencing brain drain problems, and this is one way to help counteract that. The simplification of the tax system also helps prevent tax avoidance and evasion.

Also, wouldn't you consider raising the retirement age a major cut to spending? Before Fidesz came to power, retirement age for the public sector was 45*! Now, it's 65. The government is no longer giving pensions to people below that age**.

*This was actually unthinkable for me. I could never imagine anyone retiring at 45 unless they won the lottery or something.

**Except women, miners, chemists and artists. I have no idea why.

Varislintu wrote:I mean, this is still a country that offers European style free or strongly subsidised medical care and education to its people, for example. No wonder if the money is kinda running a bit low in the coffers...

At the moment, the country's budget deficit is forecasted to be within SGP criteria in 2012, and their debt to GDP ratio is expected to fall from 80+% to 65% by 2014, so I don't think they have serious financial problems...

Varislintu wrote:The infuriating thing is that this isn't (from what I gather) unlucky events or too naive thinking by the government, it's done more in the air of "we know this won't work, but we're just grabbing all the money we can while we're in power".

What do you mean?

JackFrost wrote:Well, they're the ones who set the precedent. They broke the same rules some years ago (during a non-recession period I may add) and the EU Commission let them off. It was a huge mistake and it's nice they're coming around to enforce those rules. Let's see if they'll have the balls to go after the big countries in the future.

That's what I mean. France and Germany broke SGP criteria, but I haven't seen any penalties so far. Apparently, there's some exemption that was recently introduced for infrastructure spending, but that sounds really dodgy to me.

User avatar
Car
Forum Administrator
Posts: 10516
Joined: 2002-06-21, 19:24
Real Name: Silvia
Gender: female
Country: DE Germany (Deutschland)
Contact:

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby Car » 2012-02-24, 9:38

hlysnan wrote:
JackFrost wrote:Well, they're the ones who set the precedent. They broke the same rules some years ago (during a non-recession period I may add) and the EU Commission let them off. It was a huge mistake and it's nice they're coming around to enforce those rules. Let's see if they'll have the balls to go after the big countries in the future.

That's what I mean. France and Germany broke SGP criteria, but I haven't seen any penalties so far. Apparently, there's some exemption that was recently introduced for infrastructure spending, but that sounds really dodgy to me.


It was admitted to be a big mistake here and that's why the policy is changed now. We were doing badly back then, but the big reforms and cuts we made actually worked (but also hurt a lot).
Please correct my mistakes!

User avatar
Varislintu
Posts: 15330
Joined: 2004-02-09, 13:32
Real Name: M.
Gender: female
Location: Helsinki
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby Varislintu » 2012-02-24, 10:52

hlysnan wrote:I think you would need to explain this to me though. How are they directing money to their own circle of friends?


For example by giving dubious infrastructure project contracts to their friends, or letting these projects mysteriously drag out for years and years beyond what they should actually take (this is hardly the current government's invention, though). Or by deciding to tax severance payments 90+%, except for politicians. Or by making the income tax flat, which is essentially a transfer of money from the poor to the wealthy.

Don't worry about brain drain, the government apparently has a marvellous plan for that :P: making it obligatory for young people to work as many years in Hungary after finishing their degree as they have used to study for the degree. Considering how they at the same time are introducing more and more university fees (while having made state funded slots quite rare), which has led to a lot of Hungarian opting to study in neighbouring countries, I'm not sure if they want to drive people away younger or make them stay.
Det finns ingen
tröst. Därför
behöver du den inte
(Gösta Ågren)

User avatar
Varislintu
Posts: 15330
Joined: 2004-02-09, 13:32
Real Name: M.
Gender: female
Location: Helsinki
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby Varislintu » 2012-02-24, 22:05

hlysnan wrote:Also, wouldn't you consider raising the retirement age a major cut to spending? Before Fidesz came to power, retirement age for the public sector was 45*! Now, it's 65. The government is no longer giving pensions to people below that age**.


Are you sure about the 45? Because I asked my boyfriend and he was pretty sure that's not been the case. He said that maybe, some military people might be allowed to retire that early, but not otherwise.

EDIT: Oh, but that's what your link says: it was military and police (all of them? that's not necessarily so) who got to retire at 45, not the whole public sector.
Det finns ingen
tröst. Därför
behöver du den inte
(Gösta Ågren)

french rescue
Posts: 23
Joined: 2012-01-14, 20:21
Real Name: Marc
Gender: male
Country: HU Hungary (Magyarország)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby french rescue » 2012-02-25, 1:24

Hello,

If Viktor Orban is a dictator, why did he go against the interest of the police and military forces by rising from 45 to 65 the age of retirement ?

I'm asking because all the foreign media I'm reading about Hungary are very biased (or incomplete) - they are almost all against Orban, and the local media are now all "in favor" or self censured.
www.frenchrescue.com

User avatar
Kenny
Posts: 4919
Joined: 2008-08-22, 20:51
Real Name: Gábor
Gender: male
Location: Budapest
Country: HU Hungary (Magyarország)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby Kenny » 2012-02-25, 17:36

Oh, man, don't get me started on this, because I'm not sure if I could stop.

All I can say is...we've had it coming, but it's going to hurt like hell.
Our PM is a psycho and everybody knows that except for the really blind. But the higher circles do really not care as most of the measures taken by our current government does either not affect them or only pushes them further up on the "money ladder".

A somewhat unrelated but revealing piece of info: our dear premier batters his wife. Somehow it doesn't make it into the news plus I know his personal life has nothing to do with his political activities, but that kind of says something about what kind of a person we're dealing with here. (My brother's mother-in-law works in a hospital in Bp and she's had to treat our "First Lady" a number of times after she was hospitalized, beaten half to death. And then people go out and say things like everything about our PM's precarious mental state is bogus. And I'm pretty sure she (my brother's mother-in-law) is not making it up, since she used to be a vocal supporter of the current ruling party.)

I know this is massively OT but I just had to get it off my chest. Besides, sorry, but I can't put forward an objective opinion since I live in this mess. But, well, we've dug ourselves a grave and now we must lie in it, the suckers that we are. I just don't understand how anyone can keep believing that our government does anything for our sake (by that I mean people from the poorer layers of society who have only suffered and have had nothing to gain from all of the shit these idiots have pulled on us; yet there are still people who firmly believe that all of this is actually LEADING somewhere...the other problem is that not only are the people in our government completely selfish and disregarding of the needs of the PEOPLE (even though their campaign was all about hearing US out, yeah, right), they are also incompetent...like, say, our Minister of Finance DOESN'T SPEAK ENGLISH...dafuq, man, English is THE language of economics...then we have people from the party say things like "47,000 Forints (~150 euros) a month is enough to get by"...and he says this while making twice that amount in a single DAY....no, seriously, these people are goddamn INSANE, in the most literal sense of the word...take your average politican and his level of insanity & lack of truthfulness and multiply that by one hundred and then you might end up somewhere in the ballpark of how out of touch with reality and the interests of their people this government is).


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH. :pissed: :pissed: :pissed:

Okay, I'm done, sorry again.

Back on topic: all of what Mona has written so far is more or less spot on. I do wonder though when the moment when people just snap and go postal on this bunch of idiots will arrive. Because it will, believe me. The company responsible for mass transit in Budapest is on the verge of going belly-up, that will probably be a turning point even if not THE turning point. (They have hundreds of millions of forints of debt. I don't really see a way out of that, especially given the current financial downspiral we're in.)

User avatar
Varislintu
Posts: 15330
Joined: 2004-02-09, 13:32
Real Name: M.
Gender: female
Location: Helsinki
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby Varislintu » 2012-02-28, 6:50

Kenny wrote:A somewhat unrelated but revealing piece of info: our dear premier batters his wife. Somehow it doesn't make it into the news plus I know his personal life has nothing to do with his political activities, but that kind of says something about what kind of a person we're dealing with here.


Yeah, I agree that with politicians, these kind of personal life issues do matter. After all, politics isn't an exact science, it's done according to the politicians' preferences and personalities. Tendencies towards violence and lack of impulse control is not good. Politics is also a field that notoriously attracts the narcissistic-sociopathic personality types, so I wouldn't say that how a politician acts towards close ones behind the scenes is irrelevant at all.
Det finns ingen
tröst. Därför
behöver du den inte
(Gösta Ågren)

User avatar
Levo
Posts: 3231
Joined: 2006-10-29, 10:22
Gender: male
Location: Tallinn
Country: EE Estonia (Eesti)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby Levo » 2012-06-27, 23:51

Wow, there was a topic about Hungary. I was away for a long time.

johnH

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby johnH » 2012-07-06, 11:39

Wasn't one of their changes, to add a person who must be ellected by 2/3 of the parliament, that must approve any budget that adds any debt. Effectively preventing the legislature from passing any new budgets? Other than those already passed.
That's much worse than violating the independence of the central bank besides if the central bank should have independence, shouldn't it also be directly accountable to the people?

johnH

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby johnH » 2012-07-06, 13:28

addendum: if In not mistaken the government Comming into power at that point was a flaw in the not quite proportional system. Large parties are over represented to such am extent that political party with slightly over 40 percent of the vote can get half the seats or something like that.

User avatar
JackFrost
Forum Administrator
Posts: 16240
Joined: 2004-11-08, 21:00
Real Name: Jack Frost
Gender: male
Location: Montréal, Québec
Country: CA Canada (Canada)

Re: Hungary and the SGP

Postby JackFrost » 2012-07-06, 18:45

Slightly over 40% of the vote that gives a party half of the seats is fairly reasonable compared to this. Or try this one, an election where the two losing parties formed a government (United Farmers and Labour) on just 33% of the combined vote (the winner of the vote got 35%). Even if there is a proportional system in place, there is often a threshold for the party to pass in order to win seats (often in the 3-5% range or something like that). So it's not impossible to win more than half of the seats on just 40% of the vote in the proportional system. The last-year election in Scotland is a good example of that case.
Neferuj paħujkij!


Return to “Politics and Religion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest