Korean victim found

A body found in the River Danube near Makad, around 50km south of Budapest, has been identified as a victim of the sinking of the sightseeing boat Hableány. The boat collided with cruise ship Viking Sigyn and sank in the Danube near Margit Bridge on May 29. It had 33 South Korean tourists on board and a crew of two Hungarians. Seven tourists were rescued from the water. A search continues downstream to recover the body of one South Korean still missing.


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# Renovation of horsecar terminus in district XII receives 2018 Niveau Prize


Big cars, please

More than 2500 large families applied for subsidies to buy cars in the first week the funding was made available. The government has earmarked HUF 5 billion for the subsidies this year and 10 billion forints for next year, both of which may be raised if demand is strong. Katalin Novák, state secretary for family and youth affairs, said the government hopes the funding can support purchases of vehicles by at least 10,000 large families. Those with three or more children are eligible for up to 2.5 million forints to buy vehicles that seat at least seven passengers under the scheme, which launched on July 1. The subsidies are one element of a package of family support measures the government is rolling out to fight depopulation.


Hungarian port in Trieste

The Hungarian government has signed an agreement to establish a port and logistics base in Trieste, Italy, to give Hungarian companies easier access to export markets. Hungary has bought a 32-hectare plot with 300 metres of seafront for EUR 31 million in the framework of a 60-year concession agreement, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said alongside Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. Investments worth almost an additional EUR 100 million will be carried out at the site, Szijjártó added. Traffic passing through the port is expected to reach about 2 million tonnes a year, or 78,000 containers. Szijjártó called the agreement "one of the most important deals in recent years", saying it was strategically important for Hungarian firms and the country. It would open a new chapter in Hungarian-Italian relations, and cooperation between the two countries "has never been this encouraging". Salvini said he and Szijjártó had discussed cooperation in energy, farming and food production. The sides had also touched on partnering on big infrastructure projects.


# Balaton crossing race between Fonyód and Badacsonytomaj


Ambassador leads businessmen

United States Ambassador to Hungary David B. Cornstein travelled to Washington DC in June at the head of a delegation of Hungarian business leaders to the SelectUSA Investment Summit, the highest-profile event dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment in the US. The summit, convened by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and featuring top-level US Government and business leaders, connects qualified foreign firms directly with US economic development organisations to facilitate business investment and job creation. Twelve Hungarian companies were represented in the Hungarian delegation to SelectUSA 2019.

Ambassador Cornstein said: "I met with the Hungarian delegation in Budapest before we left for the United States, and I am thoroughly impressed. These are some incredibly smart and talented entrepreneurs. I am confident they will find some excellent opportunities to expand their businesses in the United States, which will strengthen the commercial relationship between our two nations and create jobs for both Hungarians and Americans." While in Washington, DC, the ambassador also met with White House officials in support of the US-Hungary relationship.


# 2019 Budapest Pride held without incidents


EU still a battle: PM

Serious mistakes were made in the European Union in the past few years that will have to be set right, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told public news channel m1 after the extraordinary meeting of the European Council to nominate the new heads of EU bodies. The council nominated German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen to head the European Commission, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel to lead the European Council and Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell as High Representative for the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Orbán said that although economic policy, migration policy and "respect for the nations" were still problematic, the chances to find solutions were much better now. The talks were tense because the stakes were high, he said. The council decided who would lead European bodies in the years to come, and this was important for all member states. Orbán said the question was whether those positions were given to people who "love and respect Hungary, know the history of central Europe and appreciate the importance of Christian culture". He said there is a "good chance" that the new leaders will pursue policies beneficial for Hungary. "However, the job is not small or easy, and we are but starting." The future still "holds battles" as differences in opinion prevail, he said. "An important victory has been achieved but new debates keep coming up in international politics. At least now we have the strength to stand up for ourselves." Orbán said the Visegrád Group's role is especially important, and not only in light of the recent event. The alliance of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia was a "success story", as the group of nations showing the most solidarity with each other within the bloc. Orbán praised Andrej Babis, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic which currently holds the V4 rotating presidency, for keeping the group united. The Visegrád Group leaders represent 62 to 63 million people together, their combined trade volume with Germany exceeds that of France or Italy, and these countries have the fastest economic growth and fastest falling unemployment rate, he noted. Two politicians had been considered for EC head who would have been "more than bad" for Hungary, as they had demonstrated that they did not respect the country or its citizens. Their nomination had been successfully "thwarted" and they were replaced with a German mother of seven. "This in itself shows that change is afoot in Europe," Orbán said.


# Refurbished Christ statue unveiled in Budapest's Városmajor Park


Court blocks extradition

Budapest Municipal Court has rejected a request from North Macedonia to extradite former Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski, who has been granted asylum in Hungary. The court said that under Hungarian law, having been granted refugee status, Gruevski could not be extradited to the country he had fled from. The presiding judge warned Gruevski, however, that the international warrant for his arrest issued by Skopje and the extradition request were valid, but could not be executed on Hungary's territory. The judge said the court has the authority only to assess the lawfulness of the extradition request, taking into consideration the Hungarian immigration office's decision to grant asylum to Gruevski. "The immigration office's decision has set the court's parameters," the judge said. "While the office can conduct a procedure to prove Gruevski's personal situation and may go as far as looking into political relations, the court can only look at the legality of [the extradition request]." A final decision will be taken by the justice minister. The judge said she had ordered Gruevski to be set at liberty. The legally binding decision has been acknowledged by the prosecution, Gruevski and his legal representatives. Gruevski held office between 2006 and 2016. An arrest warrant was issued last November after he failed to start a two-year prison sentence for corruption. He announced on his Facebook page two days later that he was in Budapest and had requested political asylum.


Hungary, Huawei cooperate

Hungary's government has signed a memorandum of understanding on strengthening the role of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in the development of the country's ICT sector. The Innovation and Technology Ministry said the document outlines measures the sides will take under an agreement signed by the ministry and Huawei in China in November 2018. Huawei will continue to organise visits to China by Hungarian university students and it will launch an engineer training programme to bring some 200 young Hungarians up to speed on its technological advances over the next five years. Huawei will soon open an ICT academy in Hungary, too.


# Győr hosts European frisbee qualifier between Hungary and Sweden


Fidesz stays in lead

The ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat (KDNP) alliance has maintained its lead over the opposition with 53 percent support among decided voters, a poll by Nézőpont Institute shows. Among decided voters, the leftist Democratic Coalition (DK) retained its lead over other opposition forces with 12 percent of the vote. Momentum came next with 10 percent, then nationalist Jobbik on 8 percent. The Socialist-Párbeszéd alliance lagged with a record low 6 percent trailed closely by the satirical Two-tailed Dog party on 5 percent, the parliamentary threshold. Green LMP had 3 percent, and radical nationalist Mi Hazánk 2 percent. Among the whole population, Fidesz-KDNP had 41 percent, DK 8 percent, Momentum and Jobbik both 7 percent, Socialist-Párbeszéd, Two-tailed Dog and LMP 3 percent each and Mi Hazánk 2 percent.


# Fireflies near the Hungarian-Slovakian border


Shopping slows

Retail sales in Hungary climbed 3 percent this May from May 2018, slowing from 8.5 percent growth in April, the Central Statistical Office has said. K&H Bank chief analyst Dávid Németh said retail sales could grow by 5-5.5 percent this year and noted that the drop in pace in May came as a surprise. It remained to be seen if it was a one-off. Analyst Péter Virovácz of ING Bank said the May slowdown fits into a trend of decelerating sales increases seen since the start of 2018. The fact that sales growth slowed in all segments reinforces the impression that the slowdown is a part of a pattern, he said.


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