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Embassies have no gripe with government

Nine embassies in Budapest who last week wrote an open letter calling attention to a lack of transparency they said negatively affected Hungary's investment environment were critical not of the government, but of institutions independent of the government, parties, local councils and other organizations, Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai said after meeting with the signers of the letter on Monday.

Asked by MTI what prompted the embassies to write the letter, Bajnai said the embassies felt they had to say something in the interest of Hungary.

In the open letter the embassies of the United States, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway and Switzerland said foreign investors could be deterred by reports of “non-transparent behavior” in areas of public utilities, broadcasting and elements of Hungary's transport infrastructure.

An American-owned company that has operated a country-wide radio station in Hungary for years recently lost the bid for its frequency to a newcomer in a tender that was seen by some to have been politically decided. The head of the body that awards frequencies in Hungary resigned over the matter.

In another case, the French owners of the waterworks of the Hungarian city of Pécs were denied entry into the facility after the local council decided to reclaim it. (MTI-ECONEWS)