Demography and economic geography. – Central European state. With a population of 9,937,628 residents registered in the 2011 census and 9,933,173 residents estimated by UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) for 2014, the Hungary confirmed the trend of demographic decrease already started in the 1980s, with a decrease of 0.2% for the five-year period 2005-10. The urbanization rate remains relatively high, with 70% of the population residing in urban centers, the largest of which is the capital, Budapest, and its agglomeration (2,258,672 residents). The ethnic composition recorded in 2011 confirms the substantially homogeneous picture, with 85.6% of Hungarians, a slight decrease compared to the 2001 surveys, probably due to immigration flows from the neighboring countries of the former Yugoslavia, Romania and Ukraine. Among the minorities, the most consistent is the Roma one (3.2%), underestimated, perhaps, in line with the persistent discrimination to which ethnicity is subject. For Hungary 2001, please check naturegnosis.com.
Economic conditions. – From the point of view of the economy, the Hungary resumed growth in 2013 (1%) and in 2014 (2.8%), after a fluctuating phase (+ 1.6% in 2011, -1.7% in 2012) following the crisis of 2009. Reform policies in economic field have been implemented in recent years, including the establishment of a new tax on financial institutions, energy and telecommunications companies and the agricultural sector, much opposed due to the lack of structural criteria, so much so as to cause the suspension of the final quota (5.5 billion dollars) of a loan from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 2008 to support the Hungarian economy. Nonetheless, the latest figures for 2013 were positive: inflation remained low at 1.7%, unemployment at 8.2% (2014), the deficit at −2.9%; precisely the containment of the deficit below 3% has allowed the Hungary to exit, for the first time since its entry, from the excessive deficit procedure of the European Union. Always worrying, however, is the public debt, estimated for 2013 at 79.8% of GDP. From the point of view of production, the Hungarian economy is based on industry and the tertiary sector (29% and 64%); the contribution of agriculture is less (also in the absorption of the workforce), which recorded a very negative productivity compared to the three-year period 2004-06. The commercial partner par excellence is Germany, which handles 25% of commercial transactions, both inbound and outbound. In the tertiary sector, tourism is also significant, with over 10 million entries in 2012. From an energy point of view, oil is extracted in the country, gas and coal, and four nuclear reactors in Páks cover 20% of the total installed capacity; not marginal, however, is Russia’s role in energy supply.
History. – In the middle of the first decade of the 21st century. the Hungary it continued to be burdened with one of the largest public debts in Europe. The coalition government between the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP, Magyar Szocialista Párt) and the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ, Szabad Demokraták Szövetsége), led by the socialist Ferenc Gyurc sány, in office since 2006, was forced to apply stringent measures of austerity to realign the country to the parameters imposed by the European Union, with a reform of the public administration and a substantial package of privatizations, including that of the public health system, replaced with a semi-private one. At the request of the main opposition party, the conservative Federation of Young Democrats-Hungarian Civic Union (FIDESZ-MPSZ, Fiatal Demokraták Szövetsége-Magyar Polgári Szövetség), this measure was subjected to a referendum in 2008 and rejected by over 80% of the voters.
The Hungarian economic crisis took on dramatic hues in 2008 and, in October, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the EU conceded to the Hungary a loan of over twenty billion euros, in exchange for the insurance of reforms to limit the budget deficit. Weakened by the economic crisis, the liberals leaving the government and the violent street demonstrations, Gyurcsány resigned in March 2009 and was replaced by the independent György Gordon Bajnai.
In 2010, the center-right coalition between FIDESZMPSZ and the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP, Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt), led by former Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, won the elections with 52.7% of the votes, defeating the MSZP-SZDSZ coalition ( 19.3%, 59 seats) and winning two thirds of the seats in Parliament (263 seats out of 386). Good was also the result of the far-right party Movement for a better Hungary (Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom, 16.7%, 47 seats). Born between 2002 and 2003, Jobbik had a strong anti-Semitic and racist connotation and in previous years he had been distinguished by the attacks carried out by his paramilitary formations against the Roma community. In August 2010 Pàl Schmitt (FIDESZ) was appointed President of the Republic. Resigned in 2012, as it was revealed that he had copied part of his doctoral thesis, he was replaced by János Áder, one of the founders of FIDESZ.
During 2011 Orbán tried to reduce the public debt through moderate cuts to welfare and drafted a new Constitution which, heavily criticized by the opposition, entered into force on January 1, 2012. Based on the centrality of the family and tradition and on the Catholic religion, also halved the number of parliamentarians. Orbán’s government, increasingly nationalist, populist and anti-European, then passed a series of laws restricting media freedom(subjected to the judgment of a government commission) and political and civil liberties (traditionalist redefinition of the concept of family, right to legal protection of the fetus from conception, reduction of the powers of the Constitutional Court, new electoral law that favored the dispersion of votes of the oppositions etc.). For this reason the Hungary it was the subject of formal recalls from the EU and Orbán, while accusing it of meddling in internal affairs, eventually had to make some of the required changes.
In the general elections of April 2014, the coalition between the FIDESZ-MPSZ and the KDNP, with 45% of the votes, again won a two-thirds majority of the Parliament (133 seats) and Orbán obtained a second mandate. The coalition of center-left parties stopped at 25.7% (38 seats), while Jobbik picked up 20.3% (23 seats). The consensus for Orbán, however, dropped in the second half of 2014, both for his rapprochement with Russia and for the project for an Internet tax, which was later abandoned after the massive demonstrations at the end of 2014.
Between August and September 2015 the Hungary he found himself at the center of the crisis determined by the massive increase in migrants coming mainly from Syria (see refugees): the Hungary for them it was the first EU country to reach via the Balkans and, in particular, from Serbia, before arriving in Austria and Germany, which however blocked access to their countries. The Hungarian government also tried to stop these entrances and, after having built a fence on the border with Serbia (started in June), on 14 September 2015 it passed a new immigration law, which provided for prison for those who had crossed it.. At the same time, the Horgos crossing was also closed, the main entry point into the European Union for migrants, which was then reopened after a week of violent clashes between migrants and police forces.