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.
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
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
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.