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.
In March 2017, President Áder was re-elected with 65.8%
of the vote - 131 parliamentarians against 39 who voted for
the independent László Majtényi.
The April 2018 parliamentary election was a crushing
victory for reigning Fidesz and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
The party retained its 133 seats out of the 199 parliament,
but rose 4.4% to 49.3%. The other fascist party Jobbik
declined 1.2% and gained 19.1% of the vote. While the
right-wing victory was welcomed by Europe's right-wing
parties, the British and Danish governments were more
critical of the EU response. The leader of the Liberal Group
in the European Parliament, Dutchman Guy Verhofstadt
declared: "Congratulating Orbán without demanding that he
respect European values, Parliament legitimizes his crude
election campaign, his attack on the rule of law and
attempts to install an authoritarian regime". President of
the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker stated that the
EU is a union of democracies and values, and the defense of
these values is an obligation of all Member States without
exception. The OSCE election observers in Hungary were very
critical of the election, which they determined had been
characterized by an intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric,
skewed media coverage and an opaque funding of the election
campaign. Fidesz had decided unilaterally to go to the
election to fight immigration, and had his campaign funded
by the state. Marking the deep political divide in the
country, a week later the opposition staged a demonstration
in Budapest in protest against the Orban regime. Tens of
thousands attended, but with its 133 MPs, it was totally
ignored by Fidesz. (Hungary election: OSCE monitors deliver
damning verdict, Guardian 9/4 2018)
Hungary's fascist project accelerates the EU's structural
political crisis. The effect of the sabotage of joint
political projects such as the common refugee policy is that
the EU appears weak and politically divisive.
In June, the right-wing radical regimes in Hungary,
Austria and Denmark declared that they would jointly set up
concentration camps outside Europe where refugees would be
In September, the European Parliament decided by 448
votes in favor and 197 against (48 abstained) to initiate a
§7 proceeding against Hungary for the country's massive
suppression of human rights and thus also the European
Convention on Human Rights. Hungary's opposition welcomed
the move. The EU has already initiated a similar action
against the Member State of Poland.
In December, the opposition launched weekly
demonstrations against the Orbán regime. Opposition had been
weak and divisive until then, but Orbán took advantage of
his total dominance in parliament to introduce legislation
that gave employers the right to impose on their employees
up to 400 hours of extra work per year, equivalent to a
weekly extra workday. All without extra pay. The protesters
called Orban's law the "slave law" and it offered a rare
opportunity to attack the government. At the same time, the
trade union threatened to strike if it was not called for
negotiations. The protests were hampered by the regime's
total control over the media used either by the fortie
demonstrations or by swine. The regime accused Hungarian
George Soros of standing behind the protests.anti-Semitic
overtones. In December, the Central European University
announced that it was discontinuing its work in Hungary and
moving to Vienna instead.