Consultations on Sunday shopping still under way

History

Consultations concerning the proposal of KDNP, the junior partner in the governing alliance, to keep big stores closed on Sunday are still under way, the prime minister's chief press officer Bertalan Havasi said on Friday.

A decision will be made once the opinion of all sides affected has been gauged and any enactment of relevant legislation may follow afterwards, he said. MTI asked Havasi about a late Thursday statement of KDNP parliamentary group leader Péter Harrach. Harrach said that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán supported the proposal and "that is sufficient" to him.

Earlier on Thursday, Harrach announced that the government had discussed and supported KDNP's initiative. Later on Thursday, the Economy Ministry confirmed to MTI that the government had discussed a proposal to restrict shop openings on Sundays but had not made a decision. A decision will only be made after consultations are concluded with trade unions and companies operating the shops, the ministry said.

Mihály Varga, the economy minister, said earlier this week that it would be unwise to restrict Sunday shopping when a fifth of Hungarians do their weekly shopping precisely on that day. Varga added that there was no reason not to keep the shops open if employers can agree on terms with employees, he said.

The leftist opposition Democratic Coalition said Friday it will initiate a referendum to prevent the proposal, if approved, to take effect. The trade union association LIGA said it was not supporting a ban on Sunday shopping but proposes increased salary and stricter regulations for Sunday working hours.

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