February 18th, 2010

Former health minister slams Orbán’s pálinka policy

Former health minister Mihály Kökény yesterday denounced a proposal to legalise the home brewing of pálinka made by Fidesz leader Viktor Orbán last week.

Orbán announced while campaigning in the countryside last week that Fidesz would allow the distilling of home pálinka up to a certain quantity.

Such a plan could cause major health problems, said Kökény, the chairman of Parliament’s health committee. He told reporters that the proposal flies in the face of opinions expressed by professional organisations and a health programme passed with consensus in 2003.

Alcohol consumption is the third biggest health problem in Hungary, and causes hundreds of billions of forints in damage every year, he said.

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  • Géza

    hhmmm Orbán (traitor) really do everything to get votes! But if the hungarians knew what price they have to pay if they vote for him…..a very high one!
    Look to the West and you will know!

  • Attila

    A drunk nation, is a happy nation?

  • OnefortheRoad

    Stop the palinka and the people would definitely riot.
    The country has already been sold to the dogs and
    is awash with the grieving tears of those naughty palinka drinkers.

  • justasking

    It’s a pity, that the focus was not on why there happens to be such a high consumption rate of alcohol in Hungary and how the Health Department should be paying attention on educating the public.
    In my experience, if a face is put to the statistic IE: Father of 3 killed by drunk driver and make a commercial reenacting what took place, people tend to pay a little bit more attention when it is hammered home.
    When the focus is on Health Care costs or saying “your going to die of Cirrhosis of the Liver if you keep it up” People tend to tune out, because it is not personal. The attitude “the Government can afford it or It’ll never happen to me” occurs.
    I further think it is sad, that Fidesz has so little respect for the people of Hungary to think that the only thing they deserve is a campaign commitment of legalizing “home brew”. Bloody hell, do I hate Orban!

  • wolfi

    It reallly is a shame promoting home made pálinka. I like my glass of wine in the evening as all my neighbours do, some of them even have a shot of pálinka with their breakfast
    They’re no drunkards though, but in every family there is at least one “black sheep”. Of the men that worked on the renovation of my house, at least three are complete alcoholics now, some had that drinking problem even those 10 years ago.
    For a while my neighbour had two gypsies working in my garden – they got something like 1000 forint plus food and drink (and they drank alot of fröcs) – but the money was given to their wives who came by each evening to collect the “wage” …

  • Elle

    Alcohol is just ‘there’ at all social gatherings of adults, and more often than not it is pretty unpalatable stuff. The only alcohol I genuinely like is my own home-brewed barack pálinka. Its aroma is delightful, and it slips down like a fiery nectar of the gods. If you have your own tree, and you catch the last of the crop while the fruit is still plump, all you need is a very large stainless steel pot, and a much smaller one to fit inside it. Half-fill the large pot with the stoned barack, press it down well, place the small stainless steel bowl on top of the fruit, then put the lid on upside down (such that the stainless-steel nob is pointing downwards). For good measure, weight the lid. Leave it on the lowest possible heat for hours and hours. When you lift the lid, you will find that a pure fruit alcohol has gathered in your smaller pot. For best results, repeat this process with the liquid you gathered. Then leave it cool, and it’s ready to drink. DO NOT TRY THIS WITH APRICOTS YOU BUY. You don’t know that someone has not sprayed them with pesticide.
    There really is no need to be concerned about legalising home brewing. Drunks don’t brew their own: they’re too drunk, then too hung over, then too anxious for the next drink. This pure, unadulterated brew does no harm, and is far, far less dangerous than the commercial muck.

  • justasking

    @ Elle;
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude when it comes to drinking for I drink myself and make my own wine for that matter. Thanks though for the recipe, no fruit trees where I live, like I’ve seen in Hungary…too cold.
    I just think that there are way more important issue that need to be focused on then legalizing home made Palinka. It just struck me as a strange campaign promise, as if that was the one thing holding me back from voting for Fidesz…their stand on home brew.

  • Elle

    Zsuzsa, it’s not a major campaign promise – just an amusingly little ‘aside’. There is no revolutionary material in this. Everyone in Hungary who has the facilities brews a pálinka sometimes. It’s a regular late summer activity. That it is technically illegal is a bit silly. Kökény is a silly old git for taking a go at Orbán. His belly-aching will do Orbán more good than harm.

  • olga

    @ all
    On the subject of palinka and socializing, I rec’d this – no idea why but it sounds like fun
    You’re invited to join guest of honour HMA Greg Dorey, and fellow members of the international community in Budapest, to celebrate ‘Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant’* in modern style, at this special event presented by XpatLoop.com with main sponsor REED.
    While ‘green beer’ is a feature of St. Patrick’s Day festivities, at this St. David’s Day celebration the Caledonia Pub promises to provide a taste of original Welsh drinks.
    Also during this celebration of the ‘Red Dragon’ guests will be able to make free phone calls to family and friends in Wales, or anywhere else in the world, thanks to Intellicom.
    As well as the National Anthem – in Welsh and English too so everyone is welcome to sing along – there will be a Welsh Quiz with Llyr Roberts the CEO in the Danubian Region of Prysmian.com, with prizes from Holmes Place and more.
    Cultural highlights sponsored by Concert Masters International will include: The Banchieri Singers, a six voice choir performing vocal arrangements in Welsh, English and Hungarian. Plus John Asquith will visit from the UK to read, in English, ‘The Bards of Wales’ ballad by Hungarian poet János Arany.

  • olga

    The buffet dinner will include traditional dishes for guests to taste, such as Glamorgan sausages, Cawl Cennin soup, Welsh rarebit, and Bara Brith, along with other tasty treats such as Salmon terrine, Leg of lamb, Honey carrots glazed and rosemary sauce, Potato pie served with red beet pickles, Apple pie, Sticky toffee pudding, and more.
    Wine, beer and soft drinks will also be covered by the subsidised fee, which will be collected by the venue sponsor the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal.
    Click to RSVP asap – places are limited at this special St. David’s Day event
    When: 1 March 2010
    Fee: HUF 5000 per person
    Timing: Arrivals from 6.30pm, conclusion at 9pm.
    Where: Erzsebet krt 43 – 49, Budapest H-1073, Hungary
    Dress Code: Smart casual, guests are encouraged to don a daffodil or wear a leak!

  • justasking

    @ Elle;
    Well, Hell’s Bell’s! How the heck was I to know that Orban MAY have a sense of Ha Ha? Still, I don’t trust the guy.
    Oh, and I may have figured out how we can “meet”. If you click onto Cinaed’s name, it will take you to his web site. I’m registered there and if you and I become “friends”, our problem will be solved, we will be able to “talk” directly to each other. Besides, we could have the best of both Worlds, talk Politics here and everything else there.

  • Farkas László

    Hello Elle,
    The home cooking process you describe is very very similiar to what my mother and her family used to do when she was a girl. Then people with fruit trees could make money by selling the liquor.
    Whether this is an important “issue” or not depends on the allowable quantities under the proposal, and whther any of it can be sold. Hungarians need good business opportunities that don’t have a lot of start up costs. Liquor distilling can be a very profitable business, and many distillers as well as micro-brewers have started out small.

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