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Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Budapest on February 2, according to a report by Hungarian daily Blikk.

Putin to visit Hungary on February 2

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Budapest on February 2, according to a report by Hungarian daily Blikk. As the paper reports, the two leaders will discuss the expansion of Hungary’s sole nuclear power plant in Paks, as well as covering gas transfers and the possible renegotiation of credit conditions, Hungarian online news portal index.hu reported. Index.hu observes that Putin may also take an interest in Hungary’s attitude – as a member of the European Union – to ongoing EU sanctions against Russia, related to the annexation of Crimea and its support of separatists in eastern Ukraine. Although based on public statements the Hungarian government does not support the sanctions being maintained further, index.hu notes that Hungary did not vote against the most recent biannual extension. Putin last visited Hungary in February 2015, when he promised to provide cheap energy for Hungary over the long term, and his visit this year has been highly anticipated. Orbán visited Putin in Russia on February 27, 2016, when the two leaders praised ties between the countries. Photo shows Putin with Orbán during his last visit to Hungary in 2015.

Youth organization seeks referendum against Olympic bid 

Momentum Mozgalom, a Hungarian youth organization, has launched a campaign against Budapest’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, entitled NOlimpia, according to its Facebook page. The movement is seeking to hold a referendum with the following question: “Do you agree that the Municipality of Budapest should withdraw its bid from the organization of the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games?” The capital’s election committee (FVB) has approved the question above, and the organization expects to start collecting signatures soon. Some 138,000 signatures are required in order to hold a referendum among Budapest citizens. There have been several attempts at a countrywide referendum by opposition political forces to prevent the capital’s bid for the games, claiming that the country’s economy is not ready for such an event, but none were approved by the National Election Commission. Hungary has lately been pumping more money into Budapest’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. Currently, the Hungarian capital is competing against Los Angeles and Paris, after Rome and Hamburg withdrew their bids, the latter after a referendum. 

MTel, NKI step up for better cyber security

Magyar Telekom and the National Cyber Security Center (NKI) have signed a cooperation agreement under which the two bodies will be making joint steps in order to enhance the cyber security of the population, according to a press statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal. As of January 10, MTel will send an information e-mail to every user who has been attacked, according to the NKI’s information, if the user has shared their e-mail address with the service provider, according to the press statement. Under the agreement, NKI will inform MTel regularly about experienced security breaches, feeding the service provider with the IP addresses involved in the activities.

Labor shortage may worsen for decades, expert says 

Despite improving unemployment and employment indicators, Hungary is losing approximately 40,000-50,000 workers annually due to the shrinkage of the working-age population, said Ferenc Rolek, deputy head of business association MGYOSZ (Confederation of Hungarian Employers and Industrialists, also known as Business Hungary), in an interview with all-news state TV station M1, according to reports. Rolek said the labor shortage Hungary is experiencing these days has its roots in issues with the country’s demography. What is more, Rolek added that he expects the problem to last for decades. According to Hungarian news portal index.hu, Rolek said that skilled manual occupations are less attractive for young people than 20-30 years ago, which he said is understandable. Consequently, he added, young people should be encouraged to enroll in university courses that provide a degree, instead of the government’s current efforts to popularize skilled labor.  

Rolek stressed that all sectors are facing labor shortages in the country – a situation that is further exacerbated by Hungarians emigrating to Western European countries. Rolek noted that the most vulnerable firms are those which cannot keep up with the market competition and are not able to generate enough revenue to pay more for their employees, such as SMEs. He added that the signs of this tendency are already present and that these companies are in danger of going under.

Hungarian firms take up fight against ransomware

Companies operating in Hungary have spent almost HUF 500 million on measures to protect against malicious ransomware in the past two years, with half of the investigated companies claiming to have been affected, according to the latest study by computer security specialist G Data, a press statement sent to the Budapest Business Journal shows. Ransomware is one of the latest types of malware virus, which installs covertly on the victim’s computer and encrypts the user files, demanding a ransom be paid for decryption, generally using the barely traceable bitcoin cryptocurrency. According to the findings of G Data, ransomware viruses demand HUF 180,000 per attack on average from Hungarian users for the decryption of hijacked files. G Data has found that firms are more likely to pay the ransom for files than individuals are. Some 70% of users were reported to have received the key necessary for decryption once the ransom has been paid, while the rest were unable to restore their files. However, even if the key for decryption is sent, on average only 60-70% of the hijacked documents and files can be restored, G Data adds. The study involved 600 business leaders and 1,000 individuals.