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Hungarian Protests Against European Union, Backing Government in the Row



In an another important development in Eastern Europe, hundreds of thousands of Hungarians came out on the streets to protest against the European Union’s attitude towards their government and head of the state, Prime Minister Victor Orban.

The protest labelled as “Peace parade for Hungary” is the largest rally since the government assumed the power in May 2010, indicating that the majority of the countrymen are with their government in the row with European Union.

The European Commission – the EU’s executive arm – has opened legal proceedings against Hungary over reforms like the independence of the national central bank, the retirement age of judges, and the independence of the country’s data protection authority aiming to prop up its battered forint currency and keep access to financial markets. The commission is also seeking more information in regard to the independence of the judiciary, said the president of The European Commission, Barroso.

Budapest Protest against Eu

Demonstrator burning EU flag

The Commission launched an infringement procedure against Hungary on Tuesday, the first stage of which is a warning calling for changes to the controversial laws. Infringement proceedings are a step preceding legal action, intended to enable a state to make changes to conform with EU law rather than be taken to court.

Barroso had written to Orban in December requesting him the withdrawal of two recent bills related to the country’s financial stability and the central bank. The prime minister of Hungary, Orban, had then rejected the requests.

The Commission can go as far as imposing fines and taking Hungary to the European Court of Justice. Both the European Union and International Monetary Fund have said they will refuse to extend aid to Hungary, which is struggling financially, unless the government in Budapest guarantees the independence of the central bank. The process could lead to Hungary losing voting rights in Brussels, not to mention bankruptcy if the EU torpedoes Hungary’s bid for an urgently needed financial bailout.

Hungarian Prime Minister, Orban, is travelling to Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday to try to come out with a political agreement with EU Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, in order to be able to start formal talks with the EU and International Monetary Fund about a loan deal worth $25 billion (20bn euros) to service its debts which Hungary wanted to secure from a while back. Hungary’s total debt has risen to 82% of its output, while its currency, the forint, has fallen to record lows against the euro.

Orban has faced domestic protests against him demanding his resignation for passing anti democratic bills. Tens of thousands of people protested in Budapest against the new constitution earlier this month. The demonstration lasted only mere five hours and was organized by opposition parties and civil society groups.

But the current protests in Hungary are pro government, demonstrating anger against the European Union.

Deputy PM Zsolt Semjén told hard-right station Lánchíd Rádió that he knows the government has made “millions and millions of mistakes but I believe that there were no strategic errors committed”, and attacks against Hungary have no factual basis whatsoever.

Semjén said Hungary should respond much more strongly to criticism because it is unacceptable for certain politicians in the European Union to attack the country on issues that are more strictly regulated in their own countries.

According to Gábor Vona, the leader of the radical right Jobbik, Hungary should secede from the European Union. Responding to it, Semjén said it is rational for Hungary to exercise its rights within the 27-member bloc. But the real question is what would happen the day after Hungary leaves the EU? “There are two wrong ideas about this issue,” Semjén said. “One belongs to the liberal side, which looks at the EU as a goal of Hungary. The other error is being hostile towards international organisations due to certain emotional reasons. I can understand the latter to a certain extent but if we are not with the EU, where are we? Are we to be a part of Russian interests or do we hover in the no man’s land between the EU and Russia?”

protest in budapest
Protesters on the streets of Budapest, (c) AFP

The protesters told Reuters in a single voice that they won’t bow down to West. “We won’t be a dominion, we don’t want to be a colony,” news magazine editor Andras Bencsik told the crowd. “This is our message to those abroad. “The other is we fully support Viktor Orban, and we are proud of what we achieved at the 2010 elections.”

“They have shown the political left that the street does not belong to them,” Politics analyst Zoltan Kiszelly told Reuters. “And they have sent a message to the government’s partners abroad to stop trying to tell us what to do, the government is doing fine.”

“The way the Italian or the Greek governments were removed will not work in Hungary, and early elections are out of the question with this kind of public support.”

The common people of Hungary are enraged with the behaviour of leaders of EU against their prime minister. “This is no way to negotiate, this is no attitude to any country.”

Also Read: Anti government protests in Romania against Health Reforms and EU Protests in Croatia against joining EU

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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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Brexit: Three Logistics Concerns for Businesses



After the vote on 23rd June 2016, for many businesses, it seemed there was ample time to prepare for Brexit. However, the UK is now one year away from leaving the EU and naturally, many business owners are becoming increasingly concerned about its impact.

A recent study showed that 94% of UK SMEs feel that the government is failing to listen to their Brexit concerns. There are also fears that HMRC’s new customs system will not be ready by the Brexit deadline.

For businesses, it is clear that there remains a lot of uncertainty about Brexit, including what trades deals may be formed and how they will affect British businesses. This is particularly true for logistics, where these three concerns are growing.

Cost Implications

For many companies, their number one concern is cost. In order to offset, businesses facing an increase in operating and logistics costs may have to pass this onto their customers, resulting in higher product prices – this is especially worrying for logistics companies like Tuffnells. This could result in a lower sales volume, making a dent in their bottom line.

This additional spend could come from several areas, including:

  • Taxes and tariffs: after leaving the single market, exporting or importing goods may be subject to new charges and restrictions, which could result in higher logistics costs
  • Fuel: The exchange rate of the pound dropped after the Brexit vote and it could fluctuate further after the deadline, resulting in increased fuel and transport prices

Business Systems

Coming out of the EU’s single market – where British businesses currently trade tax-free – presents more issues than cost alone. This includes implementing new business systems.

While HMRC are putting their own customs systems in place, businesses also face the same challenge. Staff will require training on new tariffs and customs, logistics procedures will have to be revised, and businesses will have to find systems and methods to deal with these new processes. All of this will eat into business hours and cost companies further money.

Border Controls

The introduction of new border controls will have several affects on British businesses, including cost, delays and further administrative processes. But leaving the EU will limit companies in another way: freedom of movement.

Pre-Brexit, EU workers had the freedom to move and work in any member state, but this will no longer apply to the UK. This means hiring workers from within the EU could be more difficult, time-consuming and expensive. With many British companies hiring migrant drivers to cover the UK shortage, this could severely impact transport.

The announcement of Brexit brought about uncertainty among UK businesses. Unfortunately, only speculation is possible until all trade deals have been announced and Brexit takes effect in 2019. However, if businesses prepare in these areas, it could help to minimise impact.

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The Future of the UK Used Car Market



It is an intriguing time in the UK auto market in 2018 with a range of political, economic and social factors influencing the industry. New car sales continue to fall for the 11th consecutive month with diesel taking the brunt of the slide. It is thought that this decline is due to the uncertainty over the Government’s clean air plans (including the 2040 ban on petrol and diesel), but also the economic climate and uncertainty over Brexit.

Sale of AFVs

Although new car sales continue to fall overall, there is evidence that the 2040 ban is influencing consumers with the sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) rising steadily over the last 11 months, including a 7.2% rise in February compared to last year. Although this is unable to offset the free-falling diesel sector, it does show that motorists are beginning to prepare for the green car revolution. Motorists are also aware that there are many incentives for making the switch, plus there is now a wide range of excellent electric cars on the market.

Used Car Market

So, what does all this mean for used car dealerships? Sales have managed to maintain stability amidst the turbulence in the industry with a drop of just 1.1% in 2017 compared to 2016. This was largely thanks to the sale of used electric cars, which saw an increase of a staggering 77.1% in 2017. Hybrids were also up 22.2%. This goes to show that motorists are preparing for the future and still have the need to change automobiles, with the used car market being a much safer place to do this as it is a much smaller investment.

The Future

It is easy to see reputable used car dealerships like Shelbourne Motors performing well in 2018 and beyond as more and more second-hand electric cars become available. An increasing number of cities are imposing their own bans ahead of the 2040 ban, plus it is expected that there will be more clarity on the ban and the electric vehicle infrastructure will continue to grow. Additionally, the landscape of a post-Brexit UK will be clearer soon and this could encourage motorists to shop in the used car market.

The future of the used car market in the UK looks healthy despite the fact that there has been a great deal of uncertainty in the UK over the past year. Provided that dealerships are able to provide motorists with a range of second-hand electric automobiles, it is easy to see motorists opting to buy used as opposed to new as this can allow for big savings which is important in the current economic climate. The green car revolution is fully underway and this is what has managed to keep the used car market afloat during a challenging period.

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All Steam Ahead as Europe Goes Green



Red, amber, green: and Europe is off on its big green venture. Yep, it’s true, Europe is finally on the right track in regards to future-proofing against climate change. To see just how it is doing this and what it is doing in regards to this, make sure to read on.

The abolition of fossil fuels by 2050

Some of Europe’s biggest countries are seeking to go fossil fuel free by 2050, and it’s brilliant. Denmark, a country widely regarded as being a leader in the struggle for a green future, is one such country seeking to do this. Yes, it might be ambitious. And yes, Danish officials openly admit that it is an ambitious venture. But, this old Nordic country is going full steam ahead with its ‘Energy Strategy 2050’ enterprise anyway in the hopes that within 32 years the whole country will be completely dependant on things that do not hurt our world. In fact, Denmark is even seeking to go one step further and go completely cashless. Well done, Denmark!

Cities are building green infrastructures

It appears that many European cities have seen the light in regards to what they need to do to save our planet and are now building green infrastructures to hold themselves up in the future. Yep, many cities around this famous old continent are changing the habit of a lifetime and going against a grain that has been in place for thousands upon thousands of years by swapping out their old, harmful infrastructures and ushering in new, safer ones to replace them. Bratislava, Slovakia is one such example: it has had a complete overhaul of its transport system and only runs low-emission buses, tree planting has become a serious occupation, roofs around the city have been made green and rainwater retention facilities have popped up everywhere. Yep, the Slovakian capital really has built a green infrastructure, despite a tight budget, and many other European cities are following suit.

Many big cities are clambering for green funding

Speaking of tight budgets, there seemingly is one across the whole of Europe when it comes to going green because many cities within the continent are having to clamber for funding in regards to it. But, thankfully, having to do all of this isn’t stopping these cities from doing so and going as green as they can. Yep, cities across the European continent are using a combination of EEA grants, municipal funding, crowdfunding and green bonds in order to go green: Copenhagen has done so and used its funding to upgrade is floodwater management and lighting systems to make them more eco-friendly, Paris has done so and used its funding to plant in excess of 20,000 trees and Essen, Germany has done so and used its funding to be named European Green Capital for 2017.

So, as you can see, the historic old continent of Europe is more than willing to embrace the future and, more specifically, the future needs of our planet. Let’s just hope that the rest of the world and its leaders *cough* Trump *cough* follow suit before it’s all too late.

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