Flagship holding of Hungary’s number one oligarch wins streak of state orders during pandemic

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest June 1, 2020

Lorinc Meszaros’ flagship holding company Opus has won state contracts worth €96mn since the state of emergency was declared in late March.

Hungary’s Wizz Air uses crisis to aggressively take on competition by expanding to new routes

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest May 29, 2020

Wizz Air has opened four new bases in the last couple of days, taking on the sector’s heavyweights such as Ryanair and Easyjet.

LONG READ: The Growers - a handful of countries in New Europe are coping with the coronacrisis and are still expanding

bne IntelliNews May 29, 2020

Gold-exporting Uzbekistan has the emerging Europe region's best shot at achieving positive GDP growth this year. Other economies managed to expand in Q1 but will be pushed into full-year contractions.

Hungary's government rolls out new subsidy scheme for EVs, e-scooters

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest May 21, 2020

Price advantage of combustion engine cars to disappear after Budapest announced €141mn of subsidies for purchases of fully electric vehicles and scooters.

VISEGRAD BLOG: An average working day at the Hungarian parliament

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest May 20, 2020

On May 19 MPs voted to strip cultural workers of their public employment status, ban people from legally changing their gender and classify data on Hungary's largest-ever railway reconstruction project.

COMMENT: Will Central Europe’s economic recovery be stymied by populist banking laws?

Nicolas Tenzer in Paris May 19, 2020

Multiple financial fires raging across Central and Eastern Europe could have been put out had EU institutions responded sooner to the populist lawfare banks have been put through over the past few years.

CONFERENCE CALL: 5G to turbocharge post-COVID recovery

Ivana Jovanovic in Stuttgart May 18, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has been a fertile breeding ground for 5G conspiracy theories, and legitimate concerns about security still need to be addressed, but rolling out 5G mobile networks in Europe could give economies a much-needed boost.

Most Central, Southeast Europe economies contract in Q1 but outperform eurozone average

bne IntelliNews May 18, 2020

Performance ranges from a contraction of 5.4% q/q in Slovakia to growth of 0.3% q/q in Bulgaria and Romania.

Viktor Orban sets end of May deadline to return special powers to parliament

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest May 17, 2020

The legislation allowing the government to rule by decrees during the pandemic had no sunset clause, raising fears that Hungary’s illiberal leader would abuse his new powers.

MEPs say democracy and fundamental rights under threat in Hungary

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest May 15, 2020

European lawmakers urged the European Commission and Council to proceed with the Article 7 procedure at a debate on the rule of law in Hungary.

Critics fear Hungarian government's bill on special economic zones will hurt opposition local governments

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest May 14, 2020

Special economic zones will help relaunch the economy, preserve and create new jobs, according to the bill. Opponents say it will allow Fidesz-leaning political bodies to allocate resources on the basis of political affiliation.

Police detain 64-year-old Hungarian for Facebook post critical of PM Viktor Orban

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest May 13, 2020

Man taken into custody on suspicion of fear mongering as he claims relaxing lockdown will "send thousands to their deaths".

ING: Central and Eastern Europe’s fiscal and monetary response to COVID-19

Rafal Benecki et al of ING THINK May 12, 2020

What is behind the magic of high numbers of anti-crisis programmes to combat the economic fallout from COVID-19? Some CEE countries can afford policy responses like developed markets as their central banks kick-start QE support programmes.

Retail sales under lockdown across Central and Eastern Europe are sinking

bne IntelliNews May 12, 2020

A worldwide lockdown has created havoc for retailers as their customers are forced to stay at home. There has been a little respite as sales in March surged due to panic buying but that has given way to a lockdown that keeps stores closed

OPINION: Post-COVID recessions bring risk of turbulent spring

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow May 11, 2020

Governments that failed to rise to the crisis — through denial, dismissing the dangers or simply incompetence, resulting in unnecessary deaths and economic hardship — should fear their day of reckoning.

Hungary’s online retailers overwhelmed by upswing in new orders

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest May 7, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on sales as demand for food, cleaning products, vitamins, and medicines surged.

Capital outflows from EMs reverse in April to modest gains

bne IntelliNews May 5, 2020

The torrent of capital fleeing Emerging Markets (EMs) securities has stopped and these markets saw a modest inflow in April, reported the Institute of International Finance (IIF) on May 4.

Wizz Air restarts flights from Budapest

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest May 3, 2020

The no-frills airline will require all passengers as well as crew to wear masks on Budapest flights, but it has not taken any decision yet on keeping middle seats empty.