While higher taxes cause immediate pain, numerous fees can be hidden in prices of products with anybody hardly noticing. A systematic concealing of environmental or social policies into the electricity prices is one of the causes of high prices. INESS has attempted to quantify the effect by introduction of the imaginary “Electric Tax”.
Ukraine may find itself with new Government in the very near future. Frequent government changes do not help the country as there is little to ensure continuity in government policies. Budget planning is done on a single-year basis, senior civil servants are frequently replaced along with politically appointed Ministers.
The Czech government continues to do its utmost to limit the economic freedom of individuals. Nowadays, the attention of lawmakers turns to the restriction on opening hours of malls and supermarkets with the floor area larger than 200 square meters during public holidays (8 days per year including Easter or Christmas).
Due to the lack of a two-third majority which would enable Law and Justice to change the Constitution officially and to implement the ideas similar to those of Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, the governing party is often hovering on the edge of breaching the Constitution.
Since the middle of January, the question of conscription has been in the center of public attention in Hungary. Leader of the parliamentary group of Fidesz expressed plans to change the current system but did not mention any exact agenda. The majority of opposition parties immediately objected the idea.
Hungarian educational institutions have been struggling with insufficient funding for a long time. Yet, the reforms aiming to tackle these challenges ended up damaging the education system. Tension is increasing between teachers and the government, with no solution in sight.
It really is a pity that the politicians currently governing Poland do not concern themselves with the negative demographic trends. It is even more sad that they do not care about the future of Polish pension system and public finance system.
The conclusion for the Hungarian opposition shall therefore be quite obvious: they need to find an answer to the abovementioned economic needs. The refugee crisis may dominate the public discussion for now, but everyday lives of the voters are defined by the worsening economic situation and the fear of wash-out.
Although the frontlines are very clear when it comes to democracy, rule of law, European orientation – it is not the case in economic issues. Opposition parties have to remember this when creating a program and looking for alternatives instead of the regime of Fidesz: the Hungarian opposition is not right of left wing, rather eclectic – just like the government.
The purely staff-related nature of the reforms and the statements by Law and Justice’s politicians leave no doubts that the media fight has one objective: undermining the public media’s ability to scrutinise the actions of the government. The attempt to turn the Polish media into a propaganda tool of the government has already been noticed abroad.