IMF and EU in town to keep Hungary on the straight and narrow

IMF and EU in town to keep Hungary on the straight and narrow Budapest  - Delegations from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union arrived in Budapest Wednesday to ensure Hungary is meeting commitments to strict financial housekeeping that were a condition for a huge rescue loan package last year.

The IMF, EU and the World Bank offered Hungary a 25 billion-dollar credit line last October as its economy teetered on the brink of collapse.

Plans for a militant "Gypsy Guard" shelved after Hungarian outcry

Budapest  - Political parties of all stripes on Wednesday slammed provocative plans by a Roma group to set up its own "Gypsy Guard" in response to the controversial extreme right-wing, paramilitary "Hungarian Guard".

Laszlo Padar, head of a Roma interest group in western Hungary, told the local press on Tuesday of plans to set up a "Gypsy Self- Defence Guard" in the near future.

However, Padar - who is also a socialist councillor in the town of Gyor - withdrew his plans on Wednesday afternoon after provoking a storm of protest.

"The setting up of a Roma Guard could lead to accusations of incitement," said Attila Horvath, the head of the local Roma minority council.

Hungarian premier reacts angrily to opposition press comments

Hungary Prime Minister Ferenc GyurcsanyBudapest  - Hungary's socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany reacted angrily on Tuesday to comments made in an interview in the UK Financial Times newspaper by his arch rival, the centre- right opposition leader Viktor Orban.

Orban accused the Hungarian government of wasting the opportunity to use the 25-billion-dollar rescue loan granted by the International Monetary Fund, the EU and the World Bank last October.

Hungarian PM: Weakening currency a worry as economic crisis deepens

Hungarian PM: Weakening currency a worry as economic crisis deepensBudapest  - Hungary's Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany on Monday expressed concern over the ongoing rapid weakening of Hungary's currency, the forint, after signalling that euro adoption is now a matter of urgency.

"The government is distinctly worried by the rapid fall in the value of the forint, and the fact that it is very difficult for businesses and individuals to get credit from banks," Gyurcsany said on Monday.

Energy company MOL signs deal with Croatian government

Energy company MOL signs deal with Croatian government Budapest - The Hungarian energy firm MOL and the Croatian government signed a deal on Friday over the unbundling of the gas unit of Croatian firm INA, in which MOL holds the largest stake.

In the buyout deal, Croatian state-owned Plinacro will pay 514 million Croatian kuna (89.44 million dollars) for INA's gas interests, which include the large Okoli storage facility near the capital Zagreb, MOL said in a statement.

The contracts were signed in Zagreb by Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Damir Polancec and the CEO of MOL, Zsolt Hernadi.

Trade in shares of Hungarian oil company MOL suspended

Hungary BudapestBudapest - The Budapest Stock Exchange suspended trading in shares of the Hungarian oil and gas company MOL just after 2 pm on Thursday citing a major forthcoming announcement by the company.

Trading in MOL shares will remain suspended on Friday and on Monday, February 2, the stock exchange announced.

"The issuer informed the bourse on January 29 that is about to make an extraordinary announcement that could greatly affect the share price, so it requested that trading be suspended," the CEO of the exchange, Gyorgy Mohai said in a statement.