Hungary Society and Economy

Population, society and rights

The Hungarian population, of ethnic Magyar origin mostly Christian (Catholic and Protestant), is almost 9.9 million residents, about 400,000 fewer than in 1990. The constant increase in flows partially compensates for the demographic decline. of immigration from neighboring countries. In addition to the Roma community, among the largest in Europe and the country’s only significant minority – which, according to the European Roma Rights Center, would represent 5% of the total population and which, following the victory of the center-right coalition, is increasingly the victim of discrimination and violence -, the presence of citizens of Romania, Ukraine and the countries of the former Yugoslavia has increased. In reality many are citizens of Hungarian origin, descendants of the Magyars who remained outside the state borders after the Trianon Treaty: in Slovakia there are still about half a million Hungarians, in Romania one and a half million, in Serbia 400,000, in Ukraine more than 150,000, while smaller communities are present in other neighboring states for a total of five million Hungarians outside the national borders. For Hungary society, please check

The dispersion of the Hungarian minorities in neighboring countries it has historically been a source of regional tensions and heated internal debates. The latest political tensions occurred in May 2010, following the approval by the Hungarian parliament of a law that recognizes the right of citizenship to all persons of Hungarian origin residing outside the national borders. Among the countries least likely to accept this law (which potentially confers dual nationality on millions of citizens) is Slovakia, which has accused the Orbán government of historical revisionism, threatening to revoke Slovak citizenship from any citizen accepting another. nationality, although it seemed clear that it was aimed primarily against Hungary. While there is an ongoing dialogue between the two countries,

At European level, the media law approved in February 2011, accused of not guaranteeing free and pluralistic information, has caused much discussion. This law provides for the creation of a government commission that judges the work of the media and decides the news to report as ‘necessary for society’, severely limiting the possibility of criticizing the work of the government. The EU expressed a negative opinion on the law, urging and inducing the Orbán government – which responded by criticizing Brussels’ interference in Hungarian internal affairs – to review the law. In 2014, the government also attempted to introduce an Internet tax to impose greater control over the network, but the proposal was later shelved.

Tensions with the EU and with neighboring countries arose in 2015 on the occasion of the immigration emergency which in particular led the government of Budapest to erect defensive barriers on its southern borders.

Economy and energy

The Orbán government has launched a reform plan that marked a break with the austerity and liberalization policy of the previous government, aiming to invest in large public projects that strengthen the labor market. The government has announced its ambitious intention to reduce the public deficit by eight percentage points, proposing, however, economic measures that international financial organizations harshly criticize. There is strong skepticism, in particular, both for the decision to use € 14 billion from private pension funds for the public budget, and for the proposal to impose further taxation – on banks, energy and telecommunications companies and on the agricultural sector – to increase public revenues rather than promoting a policy of structural cuts. tranche ($ 5.5 billion) of financial aid of $ 25 billion that the previous government was able to obtain, in 2008, from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Macroeconomic dynamics, on the other hand, pose a threat to the volatile Hungarian economy, also due to the criticism that the Orbán government continues to gather internationally.

The trade balance – with just under 10 billion dollars in assets – maintains positive values ​​thanks to the productivity of the secondary sector (30% of GDP), in particular heavy industry, and the tertiary sector (65%). Foreign direct investments, amounting to approximately 3.1 billion dollars in 2013, are also an important source of income. The main Hungarian trading partner is Germany, followed by Austria and Russia. Budapest’s relationship with Moscow, which is fundamental for energy supply, has been strengthening over the last two years simultaneously with the cooling of relations with Brussels. Between 2014 and 2015 the Orbán government decided to entrust Rosatom – the corporation which deals with nuclear management – the task of expanding the Paksi Atomerőmű power plant through the construction of two new reactors.

Hungary society

About the author