Hungary. According to
countryaah, the country was hit by the energy crisis after
the New Year due to the gas conflict between the Russian
Federation and Ukraine. The industry had to temporarily
reduce its production, after the supply of gas decreased by
one fifth. The severe consequences of the global financial
crisis in Hungary put severe pressure on the government.
International support loans had come under tough conditions
before the turn of the year, and Prime Minister Ferenc
Gyurcsány's coalition was forced into unpopular cuts. The
pressure became too strong and in March Gyurcsány resigned.
He was succeeded as head of government by the then Minister
of Economy and Business Gordon Bajnai, 41, who immediately
declared that the cuts that were expected would be worse
than those that had been. In April, it led to protests with
tens of thousands of people in Budapest. However, Bajnai was
supported in Parliament by the ruling Socialist Party and
its former coalition partner, the Liberal Peace Democrats.
In May, the IMF decided to accept the Hungarian budget
deficit of 3.9 percent during the year instead of the 2.9
percent that the loan agreement from the autumn stipulated.
GDP for the first three quarters of the year fell by 6.1,
7.4 and 7.1 percent, respectively.
At the beginning of the year there were a series of
violent attacks against Roma. President László Sólyom said
that the economic crisis was a contributing cause and he
explained that the Roma in the country had to be treated
better. At the same time, the extreme nationalist party
Jobbik held a demonstration in Budapest and accused the Roma
of increasing crime. Jobbik performed strongly, taking up as
much as 15 percent of the vote in the EU elections in June.
Members of the party's paramilitary branch, the Hungarian
Guard, demonstrated in July in Budapest despite the ban
being banned. The police stopped the demonstration with tear
gas. The Hungarian Guard is active in areas where Roma live
and say they fight crime from Roma.
President Sólyom was stopped in August from a private
visit to Slovakia, where he was to inaugurate a statue of
the historic Hungarian king Stefan (who also ruled over
Slovakia). The Slovak government declared that Sólyom was
not welcome. Relations between the countries have been
strained, among other things, because of a language law in
Slovakia that limits the use of Hungarian and which has led
to Hungarian protests at the UN.