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Hungary-Environmental Problems

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Hungary Index

Rapid industrialization and the priority of plan fulfillment over environmental concerns have produced serious air and water pollution problems in Hungary. In the late 1980s, about 38 percent of Hungary's population lived in regions where air pollution exceeds international standards. Electric plants burning high-sulfur coal and automobiles emitted most of the pollutants that fouled Hungary's air. The country's sulfurdioxide emissions in 1984 totaled 1.8 million tons, an average of 17.6 kilograms per hectare. Prevailing winds from the west and southwest carried 70 percent of Hungary's sulfur-dioxide emissions into neighboring countries, but acid rain had damaged 25 to 30 percent of the country's forests. Government efforts had succeeded in reducing dust pollution.

Pollutants also fouled the rivers and ground water. The Tisza, Danube, Szamos, Sajo, and Zagyva were Hungary's most polluted rivers, and the water supplies of 773 towns and villages were not fit for human consumption. In 1970 Hungary emitted 1.5 million cubic meters of polluted water per day. Industrial waste from chemical, rubber, iron, paper, and food-processing industries accounted for 70 percent of the effluent, of which only 27 percent was treated. Only 46 percent of Hungary's population had an adequate sewage system.

In the 1980s, Hungary annually produced 5 million tons of hazardous waste, and it reportedly imported hazardous waste from Austria, Switzerland, and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in return for hard currency. After three years of public protest, in the late 1980s Hungary began constructing an incinerator in Dorog capable of burning about 25,000 tons of hazardous waste per year. Hungary operated a nuclear-waste dump between the villages of Kisnemedi and Puspokszilagy, but precise information on the disposal of radioactive waste from the country's nuclear power plant was unavailable.

Hungary signed the United Nations Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution in 1979 and the Helsinki protocol on sulfur-dioxide emissions in 1985. In 1987 and 1988, the government passed new pollution regulations and obtained loans from the World Bank (see Glossary) to improve pollution control. Hungary had antipollution agreements with Czechoslovakia and Austria but had no such agreement with Romania and complained about Romania's chronic discharge of phenol, oil, and other pollutants into the Tisza and smaller rivers.

Data as of September 1989

BackgroundHungary became a Christian kingdom in A.D. 1000 and for many centuries served as a bulwark against Ottoman Turkish expansion in Europe. The kingdom eventually became part of the polyglot Austro-Hungarian Empire, which collapsed during World War I. The country fell under Communist rule following World War II. In 1956, a revolt and an announced withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact were met with a massive military intervention by Moscow. Under the leadership of Janos KADAR in 1968, Hungary began liberalizing its economy, introducing so-called "Goulash Communism." Hungary held its first multiparty elections in 1990 and initiated a free market economy. It joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.
LocationCentral Europe, northwest of Romania
Area(sq km)total: 93,028 sq km
land: 89,608 sq km
water: 3,420 sq km
Geographic coordinates47 00 N, 20 00 E
Land boundaries(km)total: 2,185 km
border countries: Austria 366 km, Croatia 329 km, Romania 443 km, Serbia 166 km, Slovakia 676 km, Slovenia 102 km, Ukraine 103 km

Coastline(km)0 km (landlocked)

Climatetemperate; cold, cloudy, humid winters; warm summers

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Tisza River 78 m
highest point: Kekes 1,014 m
Natural resourcesbauxite, coal, natural gas, fertile soils, arable land
Land use(%)arable land: 49.58%
permanent crops: 2.06%
other: 48.36% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)2,300 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)120 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 21.03 cu km/yr (9%/59%/32%)
per capita: 2,082 cu m/yr (2001)
Environment - current issuesthe upgrading of Hungary's standards in waste management, energy efficiency, and air, soil, and water pollution to meet EU requirements will require large investments
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notelandlocked; strategic location astride main land routes between Western Europe and Balkan Peninsula as well as between Ukraine and Mediterranean basin; the north-south flowing Duna (Danube) and Tisza Rivers divide the country into three large regions
Population9,905,596 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 15% (male 763,553/female 720,112)
15-64 years: 69.3% (male 3,384,961/female 3,475,135)
65 years and over: 15.8% (male 566,067/female 995,768) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 39.4 years
male: 37.1 years
female: 42 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)-0.257% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)9.51 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)12.94 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)0.87 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 68% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.57 male(s)/female
total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 7.86 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.57 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 73.44 years
male: 69.27 years
female: 77.87 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)1.35 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Hungarian(s)
adjective: Hungarian
Ethnic groups(%)Hungarian 92.3%, Roma 1.9%, other or unknown 5.8% (2001 census)

Religions(%)Roman Catholic 51.9%, Calvinist 15.9%, Lutheran 3%, Greek Catholic 2.6%, other Christian 1%, other or unspecified 11.1%, unaffiliated 14.5% (2001 census)
Languages(%)Hungarian 93.6%, other or unspecified 6.4% (2001 census)

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Hungary
conventional short form: Hungary
local long form: Magyar Koztarsasag
local short form: Magyarorszag
Government typeparliamentary democracy
Capitalname: Budapest
geographic coordinates: 47 30 N, 19 05 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions19 counties (megyek, singular - megye), 23 urban counties (singular - megyei varos), and 1 capital city (fovaros)
counties: Bacs-Kiskun, Baranya, Bekes, Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen, Csongrad, Fejer, Gyor-Moson-Sopron, Hajdu-Bihar, Heves, Jasz-Nagykun-Szolnok, Komarom-Esztergom, Nograd, Pest, Somogy, Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg, Tolna, Vas, Veszprem, Zala
urban counties: Bekescsaba, Debrecen, Dunaujvaros, Eger, Erd, Gyor, Hodmezovasarhely, Kaposvar, Kecskemet, Miskolc, Nagykanizsa, Nyiregyhaza, Pecs, Salgotarjan, Sopron, Szeged, Szekesfehervar, Szekszard, Szolnok, Szombathely, Tatabanya, Veszprem, Zalaegerszeg
capital city: Budapest
Constitution18 August 1949, effective 20 August 1949; revised 19 April 1972; 18 October 1989; and 1997
note: 18 October 1989 revision ensured legal rights for individuals and constitutional checks on the authority of the prime minister and also established the principle of parliamentary oversight; 1997 amendment streamlined the judicial system

Legal systembased on the German-Austrian legal system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Laszlo SOLYOM (since 5 August 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Gordon BAJNAI (since 20 April 2009)
cabinet: Council of Ministers prime minister elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president; other ministers proposed by the prime minister and appointed and relieved of their duties by the president
elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 6-7 June 2005 (next to be held by June 2010); prime minister elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the president; election last held 14 April 2009
election results: Laszlo SOLYOM elected president by a simple majority in the third round of voting, 185 to 182; Gordon BAJNAI elected prime minister; result of legislative vote - 204 to 0
note: to be elected, the president must win two-thirds of legislative vote in the first two rounds or a simple majority in the third round
Legislative branchunicameral National Assembly or Orszaggyules (386 seats; members are elected by popular vote under a system of proportional and direct representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 9 and 23 April 2006 (next to be held in April 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party (5% or more of the vote required for parliamentary representation in the first round) - MSzP 43.2%, Fidesz-KDNP 42%, SzDSz 6.5%, MDF 5%, other 3.3%; seats by party - MSzP 190, Fidesz-KDNP 164, SzDSz 20, MDF 11, independent 1; seats by party as of January 2009 - MSzP 190, Fidesz-KDNP 161, SzDSz 19, MDF 10, independent 5, vacant 1

Judicial branchConstitutional Court (judges are elected by the National Assembly for nine-year terms)

Political pressure groups and leadersAir Work Group (works to reduce air pollution in towns and cities); Company For Freedom Rights (Tarsasag a Szabadsagjogokert) or TASZ (personal data protection); Danube Circle (protests the building of the Gabchikovo-Nagymaros dam); Green Future (protests the impact of lead contamination of local factory on health of the people); environmentalists: Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society (Magyar Madartani Egyesulet)or MME; Green Alternative (Zold Alternativa)
International organization participationAustralia Group, BIS, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, G-9, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU (associate), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and green

Economy - overviewHungary has made the transition from a centrally planned to a market economy, with a per capita income nearly two-thirds that of the EU-25 average. The private sector accounts for more than 80% of GDP. Foreign ownership of and investment in Hungarian firms is widespread, with cumulative foreign direct investment totaling more than $200 billion since 1989. The government's IMF-mandated austerity measures, imposed since late 2006, have reduced the budget deficit from over 9% of GDP in 2006 to 3.3% in 2008. Hungary's impending inability to service its short-term debt - brought on by the global credit crunch in late 2008 - led Budapest to seek and receive an IMF-arranged financial assistance package worth over $25 billion. The global financial crisis, declining exports, and low domestic consumption and fixed asset accumulation, dampened by government austerity measures, will result in a negative growth rate of about -1.5% to -2.5% in 2009.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$196.7 billion (2008 est.)
$195.5 billion (2007 est.)
$193.2 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$155.9 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)0.6% (2008 est.)
1.2% (2007 est.)
3.9% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$19,800 (2008 est.)
$19,600 (2007 est.)
$19,400 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 2.9%
industry: 36.9%
services: 60.2% (2008 est.)
Labor force4.2 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 5%
industry: 32.4%
services: 62.6% (2005)
Unemployment rate(%)7.8% (2008 est.)
7.3% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line(%)8.6% (1993 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 3.5%
highest 10%: 24.1% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index28 (2005)
24.4 (1998)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)20.2% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $67.7 billion
expenditures: $73 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)6.1% (2008 est.)
8% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$32.78 billion (31 December 2008)
$36.78 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$47.49 billion (31 December 2008)
$43.07 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$114.3 billion (31 December 2008)
$109.5 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$21.9 billion (31 December 2008)
$47.65 billion (31 December 2007)
$41.93 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipient$302.6 million (2004)

Public debt(% of GDP)67.7% of GDP (2008 est.)
58.3% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, corn, sunflower seed, potatoes, sugar beets; pigs, cattle, poultry, dairy products
Industriesmining, metallurgy, construction materials, processed foods, textiles, chemicals (especially pharmaceuticals), motor vehicles

Industrial production growth rate(%)-1% (2008 est.)

Current account balance-$12.98 billion (2008 est.)
-$8.922 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$106.6 billion (2008 est.)
$93.86 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)machinery and equipment 61.1%, other manufactures 28.7%, food products 6.5%, raw materials 2%, fuels and electricity 1.6% (2003)
Exports - partners(%)Germany 26.5%, Italy 5.4%, Romania 5.3%, Austria 4.9%, Slovakia 4.7%, France 4.7%, UK 4.5%, Czech Republic 4% (2008)
Imports$106.5 billion (2008 est.)
$93.4 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)machinery and equipment 51.6%, other manufactures 35.7%, fuels and electricity 7.7%, food products 3.1%, raw materials 2.0% (2003)
Imports - partners(%)Germany 25.4%, Russia 9%, China 7.6%, Austria 6.1%, Netherlands 4.4%, France 4.4%, Italy 4.3% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$33.87 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$24.05 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$212.1 billion (31 December 2008)
$167.7 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$237.1 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$164.7 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$159.7 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$97.42 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Exchange ratesforints (HUF) per US dollar - 171.8 (2008), 183.83 (2007), 210.39 (2006), 199.58 (2005), 202.75 (2004)

Currency (code)forint (HUF)

Telephones - main lines in use3.094 million (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular12.224 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: the telephone system has been modernized and is capable of satisfying all requests for telecommunication service
domestic: the system is digitalized and highly automated; trunk services are carried by fiber-optic cable and digital microwave radio relay; a program for fiber-optic subscriber connections was initiated in 1996; competition among mobile-cellular service providers has led to a sharp increase in the use of mobile cellular phones since 2000 and a decrease in the number of fixed-line connections
international: country code - 36; Hungary has fiber-optic cable connections with all neighboring countries; the international switch is in Budapest; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean regions), 1 Inmarsat, 1 very small aperture terminal (VSAT) system of ground terminals
Internet country code.hu
Internet users5.873 million (2008)
Airports46 (2009)
Pipelines(km)gas 4,407 km; oil 987 km; refined products 335 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 159,568 km
paved: 70,050 km (30,874 km of interurban roads including 626 km of expressways)
unpaved: 89,518 km (2005)

Ports and terminalsBudapest, Dunaujvaros, Gyor-Gonyu, Csepel, Baja, Mohacs
Military branchesGround Forces, Hungarian Air Force (Magyar Legiero, ML) (2009)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)18-50 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; 6-month service obligation (2008)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 2,391,400
females age 16-49: 2,337,240 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 1,887,755
females age 16-49: 1,934,019 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 60,248
female: 57,280 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)1.75% of GDP (2005 est.)
Disputes - internationalbilateral government, legal, technical and economic working group negotiations continue in 2006 with Slovakia over Hungary's failure to complete its portion of the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros hydroelectric dam project along the Danube; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Hungary has implemented the strict Schengen border rules

Electricity - production(kWh)37.74 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 60.1%
hydro: 0.5%
nuclear: 39%
other: 0.3% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)37.77 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)8.871 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)12.77 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)37,830 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)162,100 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)72,050 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)195,400 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)20.18 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)2.643 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)13.17 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)21 million cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)8.098 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.1% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS3,300 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 100 (2001 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne diseases: tickborne encephalitis (2009)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.4%
male: 99.5%
female: 99.3% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2006)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)5.5% of GDP (2005)

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