The main pro-government daily cautions against a hasty decision on ordering department stores and hypermarkets to be closed on Sundays. The commentator cautiously criticises contradictory statements made by leading politicians on the matter.
In a bill tabled this week, the Christian Democratic Party (KDNP) proposes to keep large shops closed on Sundays. (Smaller commercial units, with a surface under 400 square meters and operated by the owner’s family would be allowed to open on Sundays.) Parliamentary floor leader Péter Harrach said Thursday that the government had approved the idea, whereupon the Ministry of the National Economy told HVG that no decision had been taken and the government intends to consult the parties concerned before making up its mind. Reacting to that statement, Mr Harrach told MTI news agency that “PM Viktor Orbán’s word is sufficient guarantee”.
In Magyar Nemzet, Gergely Kiss dismisses the objections levelled against the bill by the opposition, according to which the Christian Democrats want to curtail freedom by preventing citizens from doing their family shopping on Sundays. “It is about the employees of the big department stores”, he argues, who should have their Sundays free. On the other hand, Kiss recalls that a very similar bill had been tabled by the KDNP three years ago and Prime Minister Orbán told them at the time that Hungary could not afford such a move as things stood then. Kiss believes things stand better at present, nevertheless he accepts Economy Minister Mihály Varga’s assessment that “Hungary is not rich enough to consider that as its main problem”. Kiss fears that the bill, if passed, would result in massive layouts, with from 15 to 35 thousand people losing their jobs. The government, he concludes, still has enough time to consult retailers and trade unions before making up its mind. “It should consult itself as well,” Kiss adds, in a hint at conflicting statements by leading government politicians.