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Country Reports

Hungary Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Since 2010, Hungary has been ruled by the national-conservative Fidesz party, tightly controlled by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Its constitutional, two-thirds parliamentary majority ensures exceptional government stability by regional standards. An economic downturn ensuing from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus pandemic in 2020 is likely to ultimately dent Fidesz’s popularity, but government stability will remain intact. In its response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the government continues to enforce limited social distancing and some other restrictions, including a ban on large events and entry restrictions from large parts of the world. Transport of goods is uninterrupted, but delays are likely. Although the health impact has been moderate, the government is likely to reintroduce restrictions if the situation deteriorates – as exemplified through border closures in September 2020. Fidesz will also likely use the emergency to further curb the powers of local governments, many of which are controlled by its political opposition. Hungary’s real GDP is forecast to contract by 7.8% in 2020 amid the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Growth will be hurt by the uncertainty surrounding the extent and the duration of the outbreak, second-wave or mini lockdowns, and external weakness. Consumer price inflation is likely to weaken in 2020–21, reflecting the steep drop in global commodity prices, particularly oil. The Hungarian National Bank will maintain a loose monetary policy until late 2022, in a bid to support the COVID-19 virus-hit economy.
Last update: September 17, 2020

Operational Outlook

Hungary has benefitted from strong foreign direct investment inflows. Nonetheless, several measures of the Fidesz government – such as ad-hoc taxes on selected industries in which foreign companies mainly operate – and its often arbitrary legislation and appetite for centralisation have made Hungary's operational environment less predictable. Red tape remains cumbersome. High-level corruption and clientelism are likely to remain a problem, particularly in government- and EU-funded infrastructure projects. Labour rules are flexible and militancy is low. A recent acute labour shortage is on course to be neutralised by the fallout from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus pandemic, but fundamental problems such as weak mobility and missing skill sets remain.

Last update: July 18, 2020

Terrorism

Moderate

The record-high influx of refugees via Hungary into the EU increased national concerns regarding potential terrorist attacks, particularly in the wake of numerous acts of terrorism in Western Europe since 2015. Hungarian treatment of refugees has been controversial, including the use of force (tear gas and water cannons) to maintain order at borders. That being said, the country will remain an unlikely target of Islamist militant groups. Ethnically motivated violence, targeted primarily at members of the Roma and various immigrant communities, is the primary terrorism risk in Hungary.

Last update: July 18, 2020

Crime

Homicide rates have fluctuated in recent years but are largely in line with the EU average, and are very low in a global comparison. Reported crime rates have been decreasing, but mostly because of statistical methodology changes and legal amendments related to definitions of crimes and misdemeanours. Fraud, including some high-profile cases, remains problematic, while drug use and related criminal activities are rising in some poor rural areas and pockets of the capital, Budapest. Thefts of unattended vehicles and pick-pocketing on public transport remain common in Budapest. Car thefts are often carried out by foreign gangs, which then export the cars. In organised crime, transnational gangs (mostly originating from Balkan countries) increasingly dominate areas such as drugs and people trafficking, counterfeiting, and money laundering.

Last update: July 18, 2020

War Risks

The risk of Hungary being involved in an inter-state military conflict or the likelihood of civil war occurring in the country is low and highly likely to remain so. The issue of Hungarian minorities occasionally tests diplomatic ties between Hungary and its neighbours (mainly Slovakia, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine), but this will be most probably contained at the diplomatic and political level. Hungary is also part of the EU (alongside Slovakia and Romania), which mitigates the risk further; whereas its membership in NATO (likewise alongside Slovakia and Romania) will act as an additional forceful deterrent against external assault.

Last update: July 18, 2020

Social Stability

Elevated

Occasional pro- and anti-government protests typically attract several thousand people. They have the potential to cause some disruptions to businesses and traffic, mainly in central Budapest. If held, they are unlikely to last for longer than a few hours or a day at a time. Violence is rare and is likely to target mostly police or security personnel, or other protesters. Government premises or vehicles would be the most probable targets for vandalism during these protests. As of mid-2020, protest risks were mitigated by the COVID-19 virus pandemic and related government restrictions. Environmental and anti-globalisation movements remain underdeveloped and are organised mainly as peaceful social movements.

Last update: July 24, 2020

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Hungary has a moderate continental climate.

Winters are harsh and snowy; summers are long and can become quite hot and thunderstorms are common. The country receives large amounts of rain in February and March.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +36
Police: 107 or 112
Tourist Police: 438 80 80
Fire Dept.: 105 or 112
Ambulance: 104 or 311 16 66 or 112

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019