Hungarians, who have a higher standard of living than anyone else in Eastern Europe, have been adjusting to the third rise in the cost of basic commodities this year.
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY. GV Street-scene Budapest ZOOM IN CU Boutique
GV Photographic shop with Hungarians window-shopping
GV Woman buying chocolate and bag of coffee ( 2 shots)
SCU PULL BACK SV Bread being sliced
GV Sports shop window
GV Flower shop cooperative, with customer making purchase (2 shots)
GV Private vegetable stall with vegetables being sorted, and customers making purchases (5 shots)
BUDA HILLS, BUDAPEST GV Building work on house (4 shots)
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Background: Hungarians, who have a higher standard of living than anyone else in Eastern Europe, have been adjusting to the third rise in the cost of basic commodities this year. On August 9, the price of bread, flour and rice rose an average of 20 per cent; chocolate, oranges and lemons 25-30 percent; rail and bus fares were doubled. This was an attempt by the government to reduce state subsidies, eliminate surpluses in purchasing power and show the western banks, who support their economy, that they intend to avoid contracting debts on the scale of their Polish and Romanian neighbours. But despite the higher prices, there are few signs of austerity in the streets of Budapest, where these scenes were shot. Not only are the shops well-stocked, but there is a growing trend towards private trading. More than 2,000 small cooperatives were set-up throughout the country in the first half of this year. They are run by state employees working as private individuals outside office hours. This flower-shop is an example of this type of enterprise. Budapest alone now boasts 26 such independent cooperatives. The number of licenses granted to private traders in the capital has trebled to more than 4,000 compared to the first six months of last year. And recent studies suggest that up to 75 per cent of Hungarians are involved in the private sector in some way, even if only as land allotment holders or house builders.