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OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
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Hungarian vehicle makers hit by supply chain shortage
COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Poland
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
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BALKAN BLOG: US approach to switch from quick-fix dealmaking to experience and cooperation
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BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
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OUTLOOK 2021 Moldova
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World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Montenegrins say state administration is most corrupt institution
North Macedonia plans to cut personal income tax in IT sector to zero in 2023
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
Romania’s central bank cuts monetary policy rate by 25bp to 1.25%
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovenia
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UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
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ISTANBUL BLOG: Biden must find a way to work with Trump’s strongman pal Erdogan
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OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
No US move to rejoin Iran nuclear deal imminent say Biden national security nominees
TEHRAN BLOG: Will Biden bet on a quick return to the Iran nuclear deal?
Tehran Stock Exchange chief quits amid “Black Monday” fury
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OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
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Hungary's extreme rightwing Jobbik party has threatened to pull out of next year's general election after it was faced with a HUF660mn fine for alleged illegal party financing. The radical nationalist Jobbik party’s participation has become “doubtful”, group leader Jaanos Volner told a press conference on December 6.
The State Audit Office (ASZ) has accused Jobbik of accepting over HUF330mn (€1.05m) in illegal financing, which makes it liable for a HUF660mn fine, which would wipe out its warchest for election campaigning.
Jobbik, which has become the biggest threat to strongman premier Viktor Orban's hopes of a third consecutive term, has launched a huge publicity campaign depicting the prime minister and his closest ministers and businessmen as mafia gangsters, using billboards allegedly provided cheaply by their main backer, Lajos Simicska, a former Fidesz treasurer turned tycoon, who broke with Orban in 2015.
The campaign has reportedly enraged Orban and the government has moved to crush it. President Janos Ader has signed into law a bill on billboards designed to restrict political advertising outside of official campaign periods. The legislation also stipulates that state-funded bodies and legal entities such as political parties can only rent space on billboards at pre-set prices. Simicska responded to this law by "selling" some 1,100 advertising spaces to Jobbik.
The premier and Fidesz officials on numerous occasions referred to Jobbik as the party bought up by Simicska. His media empire has gradually turned critical against the government and in the last year or so he has reportedly been actively helping Jobbik with his billboard companies and media. The radical party since has toned down its far-right and anti-EU rhetoric and has been engaged in talks with leftist opposition parties in Parliament on possible forms of co-operation.
In October the ASZ, headed by a former Fidesz deputy, began an investigation into Jobbik regarding illegal party financing, which came after the party placed political advertisements on Lajos Simicska’s advertising surfaces at discount prices. The governing parties Fidesz declared that the arrangement amounted to a form of illegal party financing. The county government offices began to remove posters of the party.
“Jobbik has accepted no questionable funding from organisations or private individuals, caucus leader Janos Volner said. “What happened today equals to the first steps of banning and clearing away Jobbik by the State Audit Office, “which is now headed by a former Fidesz lawmaker”, he said.
Opposition parties and political scientists have spoken out against the ASZ finding. They say the government of using state institutions and authorities for party political purposes.
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