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Yearbook 2009

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.

2009 Hungary

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.

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