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End of Liberal Hungary?

End of Liberal Hungary?

Old Jan 12th 2012, 7:27 pm
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Whilst self sufficiency may be an option in rural areas it is obviously not an alternative in Budapest. My bins are raked through every day. There are shacks lived in by homeless people at the bottom of my road. One of my friends here deals with and tries to aid various charities in Hungary and things are just getting worse. There is not much of a safety net here when people reach dire straits but with the coming of the IMF (hopefully, if Orban can control himself) this looks likely to be reduced. I know that the IMF states that such things should not happen but they do. The cuts in Ireland applied to a much higher rate of existing help and benefits. I know that child benefit in Ireland used to be extremely generous for example. I cannot see how a Hungarian who earns the equivalent of £500 (if he is lucky) after deductions can afford to live.

The actions of Orban (I refuse to use the Dr title, he only has a law degree after all) and his crew have greatly unsettled business leaders. A group of large industrial companies have been asking for a meeting with him for weeks, to no avail. If this carries on then they will start leaving or at the very least stop investing. Then where will this country be?

I am maybe more pessimistic than most because I know that we will be leaving in 18 months. If I knew that I was staying I would probably try and look on the bright side. I still love it here but I am worried for Hungarians.

The cash machines are still being emptied very quickly here by the way....
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Old Jan 12th 2012, 9:31 pm
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[QUOTE=stromnessdundee;9839702]The cuts in Ireland applied to a much higher rate of existing help and benefits. I know that child benefit in Ireland used to be extremely generous for example. I cannot see how a Hungarian who earns the equivalent of £500 (if he is lucky) after deductions can afford to live.

I am maybe more pessimistic than most because I know that we will be leaving in 18 months. If I knew that I was staying I would probably try and look on the bright side. I still love it here but I am worried for Hungarians.

The cash machines are still being emptied very quickly here by the way....[/QUOTE]

Does your average person in Budapest keep a stock of Euros? Bank accounts allowed in Euros? I noticed Euros were acceptable as payment in some places, possibly just tourist ones.
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Old Jan 13th 2012, 8:06 am
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Originally Posted by stromnessdundee
Whilst self sufficiency may be an option in rural areas it is obviously not an alternative in Budapest. My bins are raked through every day. There are shacks lived in by homeless people at the bottom of my road. One of my friends here deals with and tries to aid various charities in Hungary and things are just getting worse. There is not much of a safety net here when people reach dire straits but with the coming of the IMF (hopefully, if Orban can control himself) this looks likely to be reduced. I know that the IMF states that such things should not happen but they do. The cuts in Ireland applied to a much higher rate of existing help and benefits. I know that child benefit in Ireland used to be extremely generous for example. I cannot see how a Hungarian who earns the equivalent of £500 (if he is lucky) after deductions can afford to live.
We have seen people raiding the bins in both Dover and London and that was before the latest fad of raking through supermarket and deli bins was popular. These were street people and it was how they existed from day to day - and that was before the economic downturn. Drive through many European countries and you can see "encampments" of shacks, we saw them in Italy and France and that is going back quite a few years. Also, I think if you asked charity workers in any country at the moment, they would say the economic downturn has had a huge impact - in the USA they are giving out food packages to families who can't afford to feed their children and shanty towns have been set up under bridges. We watched an interesting documentary on it here. I'm not denying Budapest has a homeless problem nor that it is growing, just that it isn't the only place as shown here.

The Irish welfare system is extremely generous and that, in my opinion, played a small part in the destruction of the Celtic Tiger. Family allowance for 4 children was around 650-700 euro/month and if an EU national was working in Ireland but the family were living in another EU country, the benefit was still paid. Nonetheless, it must be remembered that the cost of living was/is far higher in Ireland, the phrase "ripoff Ireland" was coined for a reason and hence the traffic jams into Northern Ireland every weekend as Southerners shopped in the North. During the boom, Ireland had a large migrant workforce and many came alone leaving the family at home. After the burst and unemployment rose, many migrants stayed on - as one chap our neighbour knew said, "why would I go home, I can live better here on the benefits than at home". That said, I was surprised to find the Hungarian family allowance is on par with the UK, considering the difference in the cost of living.

I have never understood how Hungarians could survive on their income, even before the fall in the forint. Driving past some of the enormous new builds in the suburbs of Nagkanizsa and seeing the brand new BMW's sitting outside it is hard to believe most earn around 500 euro take home Even more so now that the forint has been falling for nearly a year (since the content of the new constitution was released?) as most mortgages and home loans are in foreign currencies.

Having spoken with friends in Budapest, I think the "emptying cash machines" is in part to do with media hype and people "following the crowd" similar to when people in the UK used to buy 10 loaves and gallons of milk - can't quite remember why though, strikes, bad weather forecast??? I do remember that whatever cataclysmic event had been forecast, it never happened as my mother never stocked up and I don't remember us running out of bread or milk! They did say they have heard (in the media?) that people are taking money out and for a fleeting moment it crossed their minds to do the same and put it in an Austrian account however, currently they would lose out due to the strength of the Euro as such they haven't bothered. They did say that they only think there is a 1% chance that they could lose their savings, so not overly concerned. Moreover, they don't honestly believe the growing undecided vote would swing towards Jobbik.

The meeting next week should be interesting and give a better indicator as to which way things will go.
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Old Jan 17th 2012, 6:34 am
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The EU have played their hand, does it demand enough though?

Reuters

Supposedly, Orban is to make a speech tomorrow, will be interesting to hear his reaction!
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Old Jan 18th 2012, 10:43 am
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In case anybody missed it.
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