Hungary’s government is moving to tighten its grip on the research institutions of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, despite protests by scientists against political control of the academy. Since taking power in 2010, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has tightened government control of public life, including the courts, the media and universities. His government submitted draft legislation to parliament on Wednesday that would strip the 200 year-old academy of its network of research institutions and boost state control over research.
The captain of a vessel that collided with a small tour boat on the Danube in Budapest, resulting in at least seven deaths, has been arrested, police say. The 64-year-old Ukrainian national was held as a suspect over reckless misconduct in waterborne traffic leading to mass casualties. Hopes have faded that any of the 21 people missing will be found alive. South Korea’s foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha, is due to arrive in Budapest on Friday for a joint press conference with her Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó.
At least seven people have died and more than 20 others missing after a sightseeing boat carrying South Korean tourists sank on the flooding Danube in Hungary’s capital, according to police and rescue officials. Hungarian police said on Thursday they have launched a criminal investigation into what was one of the country’s worst boat accidents. Officials said 14 people had been pulled out of the water so far. Seven of them had died, with the other seven suffering from hypothermia but stable.
The EU Parliament voted to take unprecedented disciplinary action against Hungary for alleged breaches of the EU’s core values. Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his government are accused of attacks on minorities, the media, and the rule of law. Orban denies the charges. Hungary could face punitive measures including the suspension of voting rights.
Following the Hungarian government’s crackdown on civil-society organizations, the Budapest branch of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), founded by Hungarian-born philanthropist George Soros, will move operations to Germany. Soros cited the ‘increasingly oppressive’ environment in Hungary as the cause. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused Soros of using his foundation to bring migrants to Europe.
Protests began on Wednesday after Hungary’s parliament passed legislation allowing employers to request workers to take on more than 400 overtime hours per year. Opposition politicians created chaos attempting to disrupt the vote. The new legislation has been called the ‘slave law’ by critics. Thousands of anti-government protesters confronted police outside Hungary’s parliament on Thursday.
In what he called ‘an opportunity to defend Hungary,’ Viktor Orban was re-elected Prime Minister to serve his third consecutive term. Orban’s Fidesz party ran a campaign focused on opposing migration, claiming the EU and UN want to turn Hungary into an ‘immigrant country.’ Orban is the longest serving Prime Minister in post-communist Hungary.