Museum may lose Brueghel

A painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder can be transferred from the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest to the claimants because the Hungarian state’s ownership has not been proven conclusively, according to a decision released by the Prime Minister’s Office. The claim for the 16th-century Flemish painting, “The Sermon of Saint John the Baptist”, was submitted by Veronika Batthyany-Strattmann and Adam Batthyany last August. Before the transfer, the claimants must prove that they are the legal heirs. The decision notes that the ownership of the painting must still be validated by a court. Until the ownership is stated clearly, the painting will be kept in the museum.

Nude photos boycott sought

The Socialist Party has called on the government to cancel all advertising with online news portal 888.hu over an article the website published on Socialist leader József Tóbiás’ wife and daughter on Saturday. Lawmaker Zoltán Lukács said the party also wants the government to instruct state-owned companies to withdraw their advertisements. Further, the Socialists have called on all public figures, political parties, politicians, athletes and artists to boycott the news portal. In the article the portal re-published nude photos of Tímea Rába (pictured), the wife of Tóbiás, which were taken in the early 1990s after she finished second in the Miss Hungary pageant. Fidesz lawmaker Gergely Gulyás condemned 888.hu for the article in a Facebook post and expressed solidarity with the Socialist leader’s family. The Liberal Party has also called on the government to cut ties with 888.hu and applauded Gulyás’ denouncing of the article. Lukács said the Socialists want Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and others in Fidesz’s leadership to publicly speak out against the portal, arguing that if they do not, they will endorse the article. Tóbiás said he has taken legal action against 888.hu and will do so against any other media outlet that publishes the article.

Becket relics for UK

Relics of Saint Thomas of Canterbury held in Esztergom will be displayed in the United Kingdom between May 23 and 29. On May 23 Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, will celebrate a Mass at Westminster Cathedral, London, in the presence of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, representatives of the Catholic and Anglican churches, British government officials, British intellectuals and artists. The relics from Esztergom will be presented together with relics held in England during a ceremony at Westminster Cathedral on May 24.

Déli may become park

The government has asked the Ministry of Development to draft a study on the possibility of demolishing Budapest’s Déli railway station and converting it into a park, Minister in Charge of the Prime Minister’s Office János Lázár has said. On another transport-related subject, he said that once the state takes over the suburban railways HEV network, it would be modernised and new lines could be built.

MoMa fights Constitution change The opposition group Movement for a Modern Hungary (MoMa) demonstrated in Budapest on Sunday against a proposed constitutional amendment under which the government would have special authorisations in case of a terrorist threat. MoMa head Lajos Bokros told the protesters that the proposal was a sign “those in power are scared” and he called for efforts against the amendment. “Our cause, our future shall

not be sacrificed to the dictator,” Bokros said. “We will fight for our freedom in all circumstances.” Attorney György Magyar called the proposal a “legal absurd” and warned of possible “terrible ramifications”. Magyar suggested that if the motion became law, the government could curb civil rights at any time. He said the current Constitution referred to five types of emergency situations and a sixth was not necessary.


Bell lauds economic ties

Economic ties between Hungary and the United States are strong but “can significantly improve if we remove impediments and disincentives to doing business”, US Ambassador Colleen Bell (pictured, right) has said at an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce. She said that among the impediments is corruption, which is a serious problem in Central and Eastern Europe.

The US will continue to co-operate with the Hungarian government, civil organisations and businesses to promote transparency, as well as to further strengthen economic relations, Bell said. She added that since she took office in January last year several US firms operating in Hungary have announced further investments in the country, and she has discussed possibilities and challenges in Hungary with the leaders of US firms. This year greater attention would be given to “the newest generation” of Hungarian entrepreneurs and the US would work with the Hungarian government and various organisations to promote their co-operation with US businesses. About free-trade pact TTIP being negotiated between the US and the EU, Bell said “there are stumbling blocks but hurdles aside… these kinds of trade treaties have proven a huge economic development boon around the world”. Hungarian Ambassador to Washington, DC, Réka Szemerkényi (pictured, left) told the event that bilateral economic ties have never been this good. Szemerkényi said these ties had further strengthened since she took office a year ago, such as the opening of a Hungarian consulate-general in Chicago. She said Hungarian-US relations are generally good and discourse between the two countries has significantly improved.


Audi to make Q3 at Győr

German carmaker Audi will move production of its Q3 compact crossover vehicle from Spain to Győr as part of a restructuring of its global network. Audi Hungaria Motor managing director Peter Koessler said the decision was a testament to the Győr plant’s competitiveness. The company did not say when Q3 production would begin. Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said Audi’s decision will further strengthen Hungary as a leader in Europe’s automotive industry, and demonstrates that Hungary is an attractive investment destination with a skilled workforce. .

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