OMRI DAILY DIGEST
No. 5, 8 January 1997
HUNGARIAN PENSION REFORM REJECTED. Hungary's Pension Insurance Authority
on 7 January rejected the draft pension reform program proposed by the
Finance and Welfare ministries, Hungarian media reported the next day.
The program would reallocate one-third of wage earners' pension
contributions away from the state pension fund to non-profit funds,
which would be able to invest the contributions. Pension Insurance
President Janos Vago described the reform program as "unacceptable"
since it would be most advantageous for young men with high incomes.
Finance Ministry State Secretary Tibor Draskovics responded that Hungary
needs a pension system that promotes economic growth as well as
providing security for retirees. The pension reform draft is the
government's most recent attempt to reform Hungary's overburdened social
welfare system, which is currently providing pensions to one-third of
the population. -- Ben Slay
CONTROVERSY AROUND ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER'S VISIT TO BUDAPEST.
Independent and opposition newspapers have accused Adrian Severin of
allegedly giving in to Hungarian requests for the re-establishment of
the former Hungarian Bolyai University in Cluj and the reopening of a
Hungarian consulate in the same city during his recent visit to Hungary.
Former President Ion Iliescu said the opening of the Cluj consulate
would be a sign of the "weakness of Romanian diplomacy." According to
President Emil Constantinescu, Severin was not mandated to discuss the
university problem or the issue of bilingual inscriptions in minority
areas. Severin said those topics were not on the agenda of his talks
with Hungarian officials. In other news, Constantinescu urged Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic to accept the opposition's local election
victories and defuse the crisis in that country, Reuters reported. --
[As of 12:00 CET]