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Hungary Laments Heineken’s Red Star As New Beer Regulation Aimed To Help Smaller Manufacturers

By Tamás Székely // 2017.03.17.

The Hungarian government plans to review the regulations on beer manufacturing and the relationship of large and smaller manufacturers to the catering industry, the government office chief said in the town of Hódmezővásárhely on Thursday.

János Lázár explained the cabinet wants to assess the chances of small Hungarian manufacturers in an industry dominated by four big companies. Restaurant owners might also be vulnerable to big companies’ power, Lázár suggested. The issue of regulating advertising is also an important one, the minister said. While the government respects freedom of opinion, it is unacceptable if certain companies use symbols infringing on human dignity, he said, citing Heineken’s label featuring a red star.

Earlier this week a bill was submitted to the Parliament by János Lázár and Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén that would ban the use of totalitarian symbols for commercial purposes. The proposal, aimed to “eliminate pollution of the visual environment”, targets Heineken’s use of a red star, among other companies and symbols. János Halász, MP of ruling Fidesz party said, the government had no intention of banning the beer. He noted that mineral water bottler San Pellegrino also features a red star on its products.

According to Deputy PM Zsolt Semjén, the bill was proposed following a period of “abstract ethical reflection” on the part of the Hungarian government. He was clearly referring to the Transylvanian-Hungarian beer producer that lost a court battle against Heineken in Romania. Semjén also said that the Hungarian government was ready to grant financial support to the troubled Csíki beer company and it aims to boost the market opportunities of other smaller beer manufacturers too.

via MTI and