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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 Victor Orbán. Strong popular support for Fidesz (in the 2018 election, Fidesz together with its sister party KDNP achieved a two-third parliamentary majority) ensures government and policy stability to an exceptional level by regional standards, even despite a widely contested overtime law adopted in December 2018 and subsequent protests. The Hungarian government has adopted a strong anti-immigration stance and regularly uses right-wing rhetoric; this, along with concerns over corruption, the rule of law, and media freedom, has strained relations with fellow EU members. Despite the European Parliament triggering the EU's infringement procedure over alleged undermining of rule of law in September 2018, which ultimately could lead to the suspension of Hungary's voting rights in the EU Council, Hungary is likely to maintain its current policy stance, including strong ties with – and openness towards investments from – Russia and China. The government has been shifting the tax burden from direct to indirect taxation. The corporate tax rate was cut in 2017, from 19% to 9%, the lowest in the EU, while the VAT rate is the highest in the EU, at 27%. However, international investors face the risks of discriminatory sectoral taxes and the prospect of arbitrary regulatory changes affecting key sectors of the economy, including banking, insurance, media, retail, and telecommunications. After GDP growth of 5.0% in 2018, the highest in 15 years, IHS Markit forecasts a deceleration to 3.5% for 2019, further easing to 2.9% in 2020. The slowdown will be driven by high base effects and weaker domestic demand, including tapering inflow of EU funds. Downside risks stem from a tightening labour market and weakening in the eurozone growth outlook, the main market for Hungary's exports.
Last update: March 26, 2019

Operational Outlook

Historically, attitudes to foreign investment have been generally positive and Hungary has benefited from strong foreign direct investment inflows. Nonetheless, several measures of the Fidesz government – such as ad-hoc taxes on selected industries in which mainly foreign companies operate – often arbitrary legislation, and its appetite for centralisation have made Hungary's operational environment less predictable. Red tape remains cumbersome. High-level corruption and clientelism is likely to remain a problem, particularly in government- and EU-funded infrastructure projects. Labour rules are flexible and militancy low, but weak mobility, a rigid education system, and rising emigration have caused a shortage of workers in some regions and industries.

Last update: January 19, 2019

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 remains 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: January 19, 2019

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. The issue of Hungarian minorities occasionally tests diplomatic ties between Hungary and its neighbours (mainly Slovakia, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine), but this is highly likely to be 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: January 19, 2019

Social Stability

Elevated

Pro- and anti-government protests will occur occasionally in Hungary, typically attracting several thousand people. They have the potential to cause some disruption 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. Despite the occasional presence of far-right participants, violence is rare and is likely to target mostly security personnel. Government premises or vehicles would be the most probable targets for vandalism during these protests. Environmental and anti-globalisation movements exist, but remain underdeveloped and organise mainly as peaceful social movements.

Last update: January 19, 2019

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