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Hungary

Yearbook 1997

Hungary. On March 3, negotiations began in a case between Hungary and Slovakia before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The goal was for a hydropower project in the Danube border, which started as a collaboration between Hungary and then Czechoslovakia. According to Countryaah, the agreement between the two countries was signed in 1977. Following the dissolution of the iron curtain in the early 1990s, Hungary wanted to withdraw from the project and cited environmental reasons as the cause. The water flow regulations that the Czechoslovakian side still implemented were considered by the Hungarian authorities as illegal and as a breach of the agreement.

However, the International Court did not consider that Hungary's concerns about the environment were sufficient grounds for breach of the agreement. According to the court ruling, which came in late September, Hungary would pay compensation to Slovakia, partly for part of the dam construction and partly for the Gabčíkovo power plant on the Slovak side of the border. Slovakia, in turn, was criticized for continuing its expansion after Hungary's departure. The court's ruling is not binding.

At a meeting in Budapest in mid-May, Hungary's Prime Minister Gyula Horn met his colleagues from Slovenia and Italy, Janez Drnovšek and Romano Prodi. In a statement after the meeting, the three leaders reaffirmed their intention to develop cooperation between the countries, in particular in the areas of customs, education and research, environmental protection, culture and the judiciary. Romano Prodi also promised to support Slovenia and Hungary's entry into the EU and NATO.

Both the EU and NATO counted Hungary as the countries whose application documents would be processed in the first place. A Hungarian referendum on NATO membership, held in mid-November, marked a big victory for the Yes side, which received just over 85% of the vote. However, turnout was low, just under 50%.

1997 Hungary

In September 2006, a secret tape was leaked to the media. On the tape, Prime Minister Ferenc declared during a spring ministerial meeting that the government had always lied to voters about the country's real economic situation. The tape triggered extensive demonstrations in Budapest demanding the departure of the Prime Minister.

Hungary was hit hard by the global economic crisis, which seriously broke out in 2008. Many had borrowed abroad in Euro or Swiss Franc, and they were hit hard when the forint in October 2008 fell 10%. Hungarian GDP fell 6.7% in 2009. At the same time, unemployment rose from 9.6% in March 2009 to 11.0% in March 2010. Meanwhile, youth unemployment reached 28.4%. The IMF and the EU had to give the country a loan of $ 20 billion. € in October 2008 and a new loan of similar size in May 2009.

The xenophobia quickly became more violent during 2009 with the killing of many Roma and other violent assaults. The fascist party Jobbik organized its storm troops in the form of Magyar Gárda (the Hungarian Guard), who conducted demonstrations and violent assaults in Roma areas in especially the eastern part of the country. Magyar Gárda was dissolved by a court of appeals and eventually the Supreme Court because of its violent activities, but continued unabated her violent activities. In the fall, the violent assaults were also directed against gays and lesbians as a result of a Pride march in Budapest.

The April 2010 parliamentary elections gave a drastic right turn in the Hungarian parliament. The Social Democracy MSZP was more than halved from 42% to 19.3%. Conservative Fidez rose from 43.2% to 52.73. However, the biggest surprise was that the Hungarian sister party of the Danish People's Party, the fascist and anti-Semitic Jobbik was represented with 16.67%. After the election, Fidesz 'Viktor Orbán formed government. Four of Jobbik's newly-elected MPs were removed from their committee positions when an investigation revealed that they "had contact with groups involved in activities that violate the fundamental principles of a rule of law". However, they remained members of parliament.

In May, Parliament passed a new law that allowed Hungarians abroad to apply for Hungarian citizenship. Slovakia protests against the change of law, calling it Hungarian revisionism and threatening to deprive its own citizens of their Slovak citizenship if they seek Hungarian citizenship.

Pál Schmitt was elected President of the Hungarian Parliament with 263 against 59 votes. He took over the post in August 2010. Schmitt identified himself 100% with Viktor Orban's government, and often used the term "we in the government", although he was formally raised above it. However, his career as president fell short. In January 2012, a Hungarian website published documents showing that in 1992 he had plagiarized his doctoral dissertation after another. In April he resigned and in May he was replaced by Fidesz member János Áder.

In October, a dam breaks down and huge amounts of toxic chemical waste run out into the Danube, killing everything over a stretch of several hundred kilometers. Pollution extends far into Western Europe. 7 people die and 150 are injured. The area is declared in exceptional condition.

In December 2011, Parliament passed a new controversial electoral law that halved the number of parliamentarians and reshuffled the constituencies. Critics say the change is being implemented to benefit the Fidesz party. In the same month, Parliament adopts a central bank reform that gives the government greater influence over monetary policy. The EU and the IMF are suspending negotiations on assistance to the country. The European Central Bank also expressed concern that the law potentially gives the government greater political control over the Hungarian central bank.

 

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