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.
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?”
|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
National Police arrests 60 people for money laundering in Majorca
In Mallorca, the National Police have dismantled a criminal organization allegedly dedicated to laundering drug money. According to preliminary investigations, those involved are alleged to have laundered more than one million euros over the last year.
At the moment, the authorities have arrested a total of 60 people for the alleged crimes of money laundering and false documentation. Although investigations are still ongoing, leading Spanish criminal lawyers have pointed to the possibility of an increase in the amount of money laundered.
In addition to this, specialists in Criminal Law and Financial Crimes such as Luis Chabaneix have pointed out that during the next few days the number of arrests could increase, both in Madrid and in Mallorca. It should be noted that of the 60 arrested, 55 were arrested on the island and the other five in the city of Madrid on Sunday, May 16.
Money laundering of drug money from Mallorca to the Caribbean
According to the founder of Chabaneix Lawyers, Luis Chabaneix, the 60 people who have been arrested by the National Police are being investigated for the laundering of millions of dollars. It is presumed that more than one million Euros from drug trafficking activities have been sent to Latin American countries such as the Dominican Republic and Cuba, and even shipments to the United States have been registered.
In these countries, the money diverted by the criminal association has been used for the purchase of real estate and vehicles. For this reason, the National Police is in permanent collaboration with the North American, Cuban and Dominican authorities in order to dismantle the activities of this group in the different countries.
Likewise, among the main information provided by the authorities, it should be noted that more than 400,000 Euros in cash were seized from the hands of those arrested in Mallorca. Similarly, the police searches carried out on the island led to the seizure of multiple luxury items and accessories, a total of three kilos of cocaine and approximately 60 kilograms of cutting substances.
Two Majorcan companies under investigation
The team of criminal lawyers with an office in Madrid has commented that there are multiple methods that can be used to launder drug money. In the particular case of the criminal organization headed by a nationalized citizen of Cuban origin, one of the methods used to divert the money was international bank transfers.
For this purpose, the use of linked bank accounts of certain front men was a fundamental element. In addition, the case includes investigations of split money transfers through call shops.
On the other hand, through an official statement, the National Police informed that two Majorcan companies have been linked to the ongoing investigation. The reason for this is the issuing of fraudulent invoices for a value close to 200,000 euros.
Through these methods, the criminal organization has managed to launder capital inside and outside the country, legalizing large sums of money allegedly originating from drug trafficking. Undoubtedly, the arrest of the 60 people involved, including the leader of the organization, is a serious blow to the laundering of drug money in Spain.
Seasif’s Franco Favilla discusses the post-Covid economy and the price of gold
Although the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t over yet, there has been much discussion on the idea of a “post-Covid” economy, especially with the beginning of vaccination efforts in some countries. With markets throughout the world suffering the economic effects of the virus, experts have been looking towards the future –– and one of the topics that often comes up is the price of gold.
In August, the price of gold exceeded US$ 2,000 an ounce for the first time, driven by multiple factors. However, in November, advancements in Covid-19 vaccines led to a decrease in this trend, a result of the turbulent period we are going through.
“Regardless of the market volatility and the price changes that could occur over a given period of time, the fundamental fact is that the price of gold over the course of 2020 has reached an all-time high, and this, in my opinion, is very good news for the world economy,” explains Franco Favilla, founder and CEO of Seasif, a multinational company active in the extraction and trading of gold and oil.
According to Mr. Favilla, the main problem of the pre-Covid economy was the completely arbitrary nature of international finance. At one time, a ton of gold corresponded to a ton of currency, but since the 1980s, and at an impressive rate since 2000, the gap has widened enormously, so much so that today the relationship between the world’s currencies and gold is enormously unbalanced.
Total gold reserves around the world cover only 30% of currencies. This means there is nothing to cover and guarantee the value of money. In short, money has turned into a pure convention, a pure agreement between parties acting outside the market. Gold, on the contrary, guarantees democracy, because it protects savers and the market, offering an objective value for parameterizing every transaction.
“My hope, therefore, is that the crisis caused by Covid-19 will help to change finance, making it less ‘phantom’ and more linked to an objective dimension, based on gold, with obvious advantages for the real economy. Gold protects consumers, the most important component in any economic system: if you don’t have a market made up of consumers with a certain level of wealth, how can you sell? To whom? Consumer protection must come first, and gold is one of the main ways of protecting them,” states the CEO of Seasif.
Sustainability has also been at the forefront in discussions about the post-Covid world, as countries look towards establishing a more resilient global economy, one able to better withstand such events in the future –– and “green gold” may well be a part of that future. Green gold, in a sense, can be considered the “gold of the future” due to its ethical and sustainable extraction process. Seasif produces green gold, with a department entirely dedicated to green, and has allocated economic incentives to its continued production.
Even as 2020 draws to a close, the future may still look uncertain. But for those searching for greater security, gold may be one of the few certainties left.
How much money do you need to live comfortably in Spain?
There are plenty of reasons why you may be thinking about living in Spain: its population is friendly and kind; its climate, especially in the coastal areas, is enviable; its gastronomy is incredible… but, what about its prices? What is the most affordable way to live in Spain?
Perhaps the most important question if you decided to go: would it be better to buy instead of renting a property in Spain. Or yet living in a Spanish residence?
Spanish cities where to live cheap and well
In the geographical variety that Spain presents, we can find many differences in average salaries and the standard of living that reside there would require. The areas of Galicia, Extremadura, Castilla y León, together with Almería and the south of Alicante usually have a lower price of euros/square meter in their homes. The quality of life is really appreciable, but you should know that there are fewer possibilities for business and transports.
The autonomous community of the Basque Country, Catalonia, and Madrid, which have higher than average incomes (normally more than 24,000 euros per year), also have higher prices. However, Madrid has such a wide range of rents that it sometimes makes them cheaper than other countries.
In addition, and taking into account the tourist seasons, the areas of Valencia and Andalusia are normally a preference when it comes to living in Spain for a while or even spending your retirement. Although day-to-day life can be more expensive than in other areas of Spain, the mild climate and variety of leisure options are often worth it in the long run.
Whatever your option is when moving to another country, especially if you don’t know its legal system, can be very tiresome. That’s why our advice is to try to contact local agencies (that speak English) to give you fair and fruitful advice. For example, to move to Andalusia, we usually recommend Tejada solicitors.
I have already decided on the place. Now what?
Well, if you have already fully immersed yourself in the streets of a beautiful city that we have talked about, what should be your first step?
Decide what kind of stay you want to be in (since your future economic situation will also depend on this: taxes, permits…). You may have already chosen, for example, property conveyancing in Marbella, but it is recommended that you also think about renting a property, because it can be very profitable while you are in your other place of residence.
To sum up, before moving to a Spanish city, decide if you want to spend a little more money per month in exchange for the exceptional conditions that their precious land can give you; secondly, contact a reliable agency that will help you make the best investment and even more, apply for a Spanish residency if you are decided to stay for a long time.
And remember: a move is always a new beginning.
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