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Is Hungary the model?

When Holyrood politicians claim Scotland is more "European" than the rest of the UK, they aren't normally thinking of Hungary.

Although strongly pro-EU, fiscally conservative Hungary (population 10 million), has robust views on work, family, gay marriage (they don't like it), and slashing taxes.

Budapest's man in London, Janos Csak, is a former newspaper magnate tipped for a top economics post after the next election. Csak briefed Scottish journalists in Edinburgh, where he has appointed former council leader Norman Irons as Honorary Consul, giving a lively snapshot of the "Hungarian journey", extolling its economic recovery and playing down ugly populist undercurrents.

Hungary, he said, is thriving as a shared-services centre and a high-tech manufacturer – Samsung exports €5 billion a year from the land-locked nation. In the EU since 2004, Hungary is in no rush to join the euro, but is decidedly cool on David Cameron's reform efforts, saying enigmatically: "If you have a problem with your plumbing, you don't refurbish your whole house."

He also hinted that supporting the transfer of wealth to the poorer Eastern European countries was in the UK's interest: "If people can't get by on what they have, they will come here."

Sad news that Alan Russell, chief executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, has died of cancer, aged 60. Russell had a big, warm, personality, deployed to great effect for the benefit of the Fife economy.

This was particularly in evidence in the long battle to get the Scottish Government to commit to a new crossing over the Forth, when he painted the consequences of its absence in apocalyptic terms. A forceful communicator who could be quite combative, he also had the softer diplomatic skills necessary to deal with competing interests that chambers represent.

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