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 gathered.
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.