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Hungary

Yearbook 2012

Hungary. According to countryaah, the government began the year in conflict both at home and in the EU, which expressed concern for democracy in Hungary. The constitution that came into force at the New Year was met by protests in the capital of Budapest from close to 100,000 protesters, who accused the government of wanting to introduce a one-party state.

2012 Hungary

In Brussels, the European Commission initiated legal proceedings against Hungary, as the central bank appeared to lose its independence and the judiciary risked weakening. Hungary's voting rights in the EU were threatened, and one third of the country's financial EU support was in danger due to the country's high budget deficit.

The economy deteriorated, the value of the currency forint fell to the bottom level and the interest rate on Hungarian government bonds rose sharply. Hungary needed loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EU but refused to bow to the terms of the lenders. The government was partially forced to retreat in the face of EU pressure and abandoned plans to merge the central bank and the Financial Supervisory Authority.

In April, President Pál Schmitt found it too good to resign after a university in Budapest accused him of plagiarizing large parts of his doctoral dissertation. Schmitt refused but could not resist the requirements for departure. Parliament President László Kövér was appointed head of state, and in May Parliament elected former President and EU parliamentarian János Áder as new ordinary President.

Since the economy continued to shrink, Hungary resumed negotiations with the EU and the IMF on crisis loans in July. During the autumn, the government made concessions to the lenders' demands and waived the idea of taxing the central bank's financial transactions. As a result, the chances of emergency loans increased.

Both the Hungarian Constitutional Court and the European Court of Justice rejected the government's lowering of the retirement age for judges and prosecutors from 70 to 62 years. The decision was referred to as age discrimination.

At the beginning of the year, unemployment reached over 11%, and in society an increase in xenophobia and anti-Semitism was noticed. The right-wing party Jobbik held threatening meetings and party leader Gábor Vona explained that Roma who did not adapt must leave the country. A leading politician in Jobbik, who had pronounced himself anti-Semitic, was forced to abandon his mission when it became clear that he was concealing his own Jewish burden.

Hungarian-Jewish author Ákos Kertész applied for asylum in Canada during the year, pointing out that he was threatened in Hungary after publishing an article on the Hungarian involvement in the Holocaust. In July, 97-year-old László Csizsik-Csatáry was arrested on suspicion of contributing to the deportation of more than 15,000 Jews to Auschwitz.

When Jobbiks MP Márton Gyöngyösi proposed in November that the government should draw up lists of Jews, which he thought constituted a security risk, the reaction became fierce internationally, but also in Hungary. The government condemned the statement, and in Budapest a large protest demonstration was held outside Parliament against Jobbik.

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