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The exodus of Hungarian workers

Friday, October 12, 2012 - 01:54

Oct. 12 - Although Hungary's Prime Minister looks set to make a loan deal with the IMF that could stabilise its economy, hundreds of thousands are leaving to work overseas. Joanne Nicholson reports.

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As many as 1 in 5 of these students will be leaving Hungary for work - that's the highest number since the fall of the Soviet Union twenty years ago. Csaba Bihari studies logistics and says its a simple matter of numbers. (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) LOGISTICS STUDENT CSABA BIHARI SAYING: "The multinationals here do not pay as well as in Austria or England so it's a good option to work abroad for a multinational company and it's worth aiming for it." 300,000 Hungarians have already made the leap to Western Europe. Hungary is central Europe's most indebted nation, and its government has been criticised for not seeking outside help. The Tarki research institute's Endre Sik says the mood has shifted. (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) SOCIOLOGIST OF TARKI SOCIAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE ENDRE SIK SAYING: "Hungarian migration figures used to be low in comparison to other international figures. At the time of accession to the EU they began to rise and in the past three years the numbers have grown and according to the last poll the figure is the highest ever recorded." Many others, like these young jobseekers are hoping their Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, can turn the country around. He's close to a loan deal with the IMF and there are high hopes that getting the economy moving again will attract workers back. Bence Retvari is state secretary at the ministry for public administration. (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) STATE SECRETARY OF THE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION MINISTRY BENCE RETVARI SAYING: "Various government programmes could help certain sections of society but in the long term only if people hear from those at home that the prospects here are better, it's worth investing here, and there are jobs at home too." But Hungary's economy is largely geared to exporting to western Europe and demand fell when the wider financial crisis in the euro zone began. Until the bloc, as a whole, can turn itself around, the prospect of Hungarians sailing back to home shores seems a long way off. Joanne Nicholson, Reuters

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The exodus of Hungarian workers

Friday, October 12, 2012 - 01:54