To help or not to help

(CC By Frans de Wit)

Help or not to help - interesting debate on Hungarian labour market.

Germans found new way to deter migrants from the Western Balkans.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius encourages integration of refugees.


Interesting debate on Hungarian labour market. Hungarian government runs public works programmes since 2010. The army of Hungarian public workers (low-skilled, very often unemployed for more than 10 years) now amounts up to 260,000 and is estimated to reach the number of 350,000 by 2018. Fidesz uses them mostly to build infrastructure and clean streets. In 2015 it costs HUF 270bn (approx. EUR 869m, compared to HUF 59.1bn in 2010 approx. EUR 190m) Experts say that in the long run ideas like public works are harmful for job-seekers and the labour market in general. cites David Card, an economist from the University of California, Berkeley and Agota Scharle, a senior researcher from the Budapest Institute who agree that: a) public works are the „mental labour trap” which is causing problems to the „workfare” labourers in entering the private sector; b) those kind of schemes are characteristic for developing countries and were abandoned long time ago by the developed countries.

In response, Hungarian officials claim they will run the programmes as long as the need exists. As for now, hundreds of „workfare” labourers are building the razor-wire fence along the border between Hungary and Serbia. It is said that each day  more than 1000 people cross the border, and the mood in Hungary is not pro-immigrant. BTW, public workers earn monthly in Hungary about HUF 49.7 (EUR160) and the average gross salary in Hungary isHUF254.5 (EUR890).

>>Learn more


Regarding the razor-wire fence along the Hungarian border. Cynthia Kroet from Politico EU reports that Germans found new ways to „deter a flood of would-be migrants from the Western Balkans”. Let’s recall that Western Balkans are Croatia (which joined EU in July 2013), Serbia, (again), Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Kosovo. German offices for migration and refugees are expecting more than 450,000 applications for asylum this year. In the first half of 2015 about 180,000 applications were registered – twice as many as in the first half of 2014. It is said that now it would be much harder to fulfil the requirements needed for the asylum based on economic grounds. If you want to learn more watch the video published by Thomas de Maizière (from the very famous German de Maizière family), the Interior Minister of Germany. The voice warns Albanians, Macedonians and people of Balkans that they would not get German papers very easily and would not start a better life in the country on the Rhine river.

>>The article and the video


Refugees are also bone of contention in Lithuania. Algirdas Butkevicius, Lithuanian Prime Minister, encourages integration of refugees (mainly Muslim ones) in his country. But Arturas Paulauskas (the chairman of the parliamentary National and Defense Committee) says that wearing traditional Muslim clothing, especially burqas can ignite conflicts and cause threats to pubic security.

>> More

Today’s Baltic Times delivers alist of the richest Lithuanians in 2015. The list is being published each year by Veidas magazine. At the top there is Nerijus Numavicius (born 1967) with assets value of LTL 3.6bn (approx. EUR 1.04bn). He holds the shares of Vilanius Prekyba Group which is the main owner of the Maxima supermarkets chain. Maxima Group operates in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria and Poland, giving jobs to 31,000 people.

The other businessmen from top three are Darius Mockus (assets value of LTL 950m) and Augustinas Rakauskas (assets value of LTL 900m). Mockus is the owner of MG Baltic, one of the largest holdings of the Baltic states which is the parent company of  alcohol beverages distributors, clothing companies, supermakets and other. Mockus (born 1965) started his businesses in the early nineties. Rakauskas (born 1946) also owns shopping malls – gathered in Sanukai DIY chain.

The other rich Lithuanians are: Mindaugas Raila, Zilvinas Marcinkevicius, Lyda Lubiene (the only woman in the top ten), Pranas and Andrius Kizis, Mindaugas Marcinkevicius, Vladas Numavicius, Dainius Dundulis, Remember these names!

>>More on the list in The Baltic Times


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