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HUNGARY


 

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 82,805 65,843 51,900 41
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 6,330 5,280 4,830 67
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Hungary




Update No: 123 - (31/08/07)

The Bionemial theorem
Hungary is in a quandary. They have a scandalous government, led by something of a scoundrel, Gyurscany. But he is for all that a very clever man. He has done many a wicked thing. But he has admitted as much and promised to reform. 

Who is one better off with - a confessed scoundrel or reprobate, latterly vindicated, or a moralist? 

The Hungarian Citizens Party (Fidesz) has lost public support but remains the country's most popular political organization, according to a poll by Tarki. 56 % of respondents would back the main opposition party in the next general election, down six points since June.

The governing Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) is second with 31%, up six points in a month. The Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) is a distant third with seven per cent, followed by the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) with two per cent.

Hungarian voters renewed their National Assembly in April 2006. The MSZP and the SZDSZ secured 210 of the legislative branch's 386 seats, securing a full term for Socialist prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. Fidesz, led by Viktor Orban, elected 164 lawmakers. In June 2006, Gyurcsany introduced a fiscal "austerity package" of state subsidy reductions and tax increases, aimed at lowering the country's fiscal deficit.

Neo-Nazis form national guard
On August 3rd, in what journalists call the silly season, Gabor Vona, leader of the extreme right-wing Movement For The Better Hungary (Jobbik), said his group will set up a "Hungarian Guard" in order to curb the lack of any "physical, mental or spiritual self-defence" in Hungary. Vona said that members of the guard would be ready to defend Hungary in a time of war, even though they are not allowed to carry out any military training. Jobbik expects to have about 1,000 guards by the end of 2007. 

It is not clear which enemy Hungary now faces. It is, anyway, a member of NATO. That would appear sufficient, with its normal armed forces, to defend the nation.

The new formation is looking back to something old, as it so happens. They will wear black uniforms featuring the controversial Arpad Stripes, a medieval coat of arms that became associated with the Nazi-aligned Arrow Cross party in power for a brief period during World War II.

Into Euroland by 2011-12
Hungary is faring well economically, now within the EU. It could adopt the euro in 2011 or 2012 said central bank governor Andras Simor, but questioned whether it should be a priority for the country. 

Hungary must also urgently improve its business environment if it wants to return its economy to its long term potential growth rate, Simor told a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce. 'Whether we need to introduce the euro as soon as possible is questionable,' he said. The Hungarian government aims to adopt the single currency as soon as possible but the issue over when it will meet the necessary economic criteria is the subject of debate. 

The government has introduced a series of measures aimed at cutting the budget deficit to the requisite 3 pct of output from 9.2 pct last year, a record in the EU. The measures, based mainly on tax and utility price hikes, have driven inflation and led to an economic slowdown as consumer consumption has fallen. 

Simor said that fiscal adjustments alone were not enough to stop economic crises from reoccuring and urged the government to make the business environment more competitive to win foreign direct investment in an increasingly competitive regional environment. The governor added that 'not a lot' had been achieved in this area so far. 

Simor said that the labour market needed to be made more flexible including measures to increase participation and mobility as well as reduce contributions paid by employers. 'Almost 50% more people who can work do work in Switzerland,' said Simor. 'We need to change the way we think about work and work habits.

' He added, that productivity and investment need to be increased if the Hungarian economy was to return to its long-term potential growth rate of 4-5 pct per annum. Hungary's economy grew at just 1.4 pct last quarter. 

To wrap up Simor urged the government to press ahead with plans to create an independent budget office to regulate government spending, saying a return to profligate spending before the next election in 2010 was not negligible.
 

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