GENERAL INFORMATION

Hungary is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The country's capital and largest city is Budapest. Hungary is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the Vise grad Group, and the Schengen Area. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe.

Following centuries of successive habitation by Celts, Romans, Huns, Slavs, Gepids, and Avars, the foundation of Hungary was laid in the late 9th century by the Hungarian grand prince Arpad in the Honfoglalas ("homeland-conquest"). His great-grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne in 1000 CE, converting the country to a Christian kingdom. By the 12th century, Hungary became a middle power within the Western world. Following the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, Medieval Hungary collapsed and succumbed to 150 years of partial Ottoman occupation (1541ľ1699). Hungary eventually came under Habsburg rule, and later formed a significant part of the AustroľHungarian Empire (1867ľ1918).

Hungary's current borders were first established by the Treaty of Trianon (1920) after World War I, when the country lost 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, and 32% of ethnic Hungarians. Following the interwar period, Hungary joined the Axis Powers in World War II, suffering significant damage and casualties. Hungary came under the influence of the Soviet Union, which contributed to the establishment of a four-decade long communist dictatorship (1947ľ1989). The country gained widespread international attention regarding the Revolution of 1956 and the seminal opening of its previously-restricted border with Austria in 1989, which accelerated the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. On 23 October 1989, Hungary again became a democratic parliamentary republic, and is generally considered to be a developing country. Hungary is a popular tourist destination attracting 10.675 million tourists a year (2013). It is home to the largest thermal water cave system and the second largest thermal lake in the world (Lake Heviz), the largest lake in Central Europe (Lake Balaton), and the largest natural grasslands in Europe (the Hortobagy National Park).

CLIMATE

Hungary has a continental climate, with hot summers with low overall humidity levels but frequent rain showers and mildly cold snowy winters. Average annual temperature is 9.7 ░C (49.5 ░F). Temperature extremes are about 41.9 ░C (107.4 ░F) on 20 July 2007 at Kiskunhalas in the summer and -35 ░C (-31.0 ░F) on 16 February 1940 Miskolc-Gorombolytapolca in the winter. Average high temperature in the summer is 23 to 28 ░C (73 to 82 ░F) and average low temperature in the winter is -3 to -7 ░C (27 to 19 ░F). The average yearly rainfall is approximately 600 mm (23.6 in). A small, southern region of the country near Pecs enjoys a reputation for a Mediterranean climate, but in reality it is only slightly warmer than the rest of the country and still receives snow during the winter.Hungary is ranked sixth in an environmental protection index by GW/CAN.

GOVERNANCE

Hungary is a unicameral parliamentary representative democratic republic. Members of Parliament are elected to the highest organ of state authority, the National Assembly, every four years. Up until 2012, 386 MPs were elected to the National Assembly in two rounds of voting guaranteeing proportional representation with an election threshold of 5%. In 2012, the new Constitution lowered the number of MPs to 199 and instituted a first-past-the-post election with a single round.

The Prime Minister serves as the head of government and is elected by the National Assembly. Therefore, traditionally, the Prime Minister is the leader of the party with the most seats in parliament. The Prime Minister selects Cabinet ministers and has the exclusive right to dismiss them. Cabinet nominees must appear before consultative open hearings before one or more parliamentary committees, survive a vote in the National Assembly, and be formally approved by the President.

The President of the Republic (koztarsasagi elnok or less formally: allamelnok or allamfo) serves as the head of state and is elected by the National Assembly every five years. The President has a largely ceremonial role. He receives foreign heads of state and formally nominates the Prime Minister at the recommendation of the National Assembly. He is also the Commander-in-Chief of the country's armed forces. Importantly, the President may veto a piece of legislation or send it to the 15-member Constitutional Court for review. The Hungarian government operates according to its Basic Law, which was adopted by the governing parties two-thirds majority in 2012 but based on the post-war Constitution of West Germany.

ECONOMY

The economy of Hungary is a medium-sized, Upper-middle-income, structurally, politically and institutionally open economy, which is part of the European Union's (EU) single market.[105] The economy of Hungary experienced market liberalization in the early 1990s as part of the transition from a socialist economy to a market economy, similarly to most countries in the former Eastern Bloc. Hungary is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) since 1995,[106] a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 1996,[107] and a member of the European Union since 2004.Hungary hosts the first foreign office of the China Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA). The private sector accounts for more than 80% of the Hungarian gross domestic product (GDP). Foreign ownership of and investment in Hungarian firms are widespread, with cumulative foreign direct investment worth more than $70 billion. Hungary's main industries are mining, metallurgy, construction materials, processed foods, textiles, chemicals (especially pharmaceuticals), and motor vehicles. Hungary's main agricultural products are wheat, corn, sunflower seed, potatoes, sugar beets; pigs, cattle, poultry, and dairy products. The currency of Hungary is called "forint" (sign: Ft; code: HUF) which was introduced in 1946. Hungary, as a member state of the European Union may seek to adopt the common European currency, the Euro. To achieve this, Hungary would need to fulfill the Maastricht criteria.

In foreign investments, Hungary has seen a shift from lower-value textile and food industry to investment in luxury vehicle production, renewable energy systems, high-end tourism, and information technology. http://www.worlddiplomacy.org states that "Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party won another majority in 2014 and this should continue to provide further stability to Hungary, although some of his policies are seen as controversial to some. The economy should increase by over 1% as Hungary along with the rest of the European Union economies continue to recover.

EDUCATION

Education in Hungary is compulsory from 5 to 18 (16 for the students in grade 10 and below). At the age of six, pupils enters in primary schools: the curriculum is divided in two phase of 4 years each. Afterward, they can choose between three different kind of secondary education school: Grammar school(leading to academic higher education), secondary vocational school(leading to vocational higher education) and vocational school(leading to the world of work). The system is partly flexible and bridges exist (graduates from a vocational school can achieve a two years program to have access to vocational higher education for instance).

The Hungarian higher education is a dual system, divided into colleges(that usually provide bachelor degree) and universities (that usually provide master degree).Hungary's higher education and training has been ranked 44 out of 148 countries in the Global competitiveness Report 2013/2014

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Hungary is famous for its excellent mathematics education which has trained numerous outstanding scientists. Famous Hungarian mathematicians include father Farkas Bolyai and son Jßnos Bolyai, who discovered non-Euclidian geometry; Paul Erdos, famed for publishing in over forty languages and whose Erdos numbers are still tracked;[120] and John von Neumann, a key contributor in the fields of quantum mechanics and game theory, a pioneer of digital computing, and the chief mathematician in the Manhattan Project. Many Hungarian scientists, including Erdos, von Neumann, Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, Rudolf E. Kalman and Edward Teller emigrated to the US.

Thirteen Hungarian or Hungarian-born scientists have received the Nobel Prize, all of whom emigrated, mostly because of persecution of communist and/or fascist regimes. Until 2012 three individuals: Csoma, Janos Bolyai and Tihanyi were included in the UNESCO Memory of the world register as well as the collective contributions: Tabula Hungariae and Bibliotheca Corviniana. Contemporary, internationally well-known Hungarian scientists include: mathematician Laszlo Lovasz, physicist Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, physicist Ferenc Krausz, and biochemist Arpad Pusztai.

TRANSPORT

Hungary has a highly developed road, railway, air and water transport system. Because of its central location, Budapest is the hub of the Hungarian transport network. The Hungarian railway system (M┴V) is centralized around Budapest. The capital is served by three large train stations called Keleti (Eastern), Nyugati (Western) and Deli (Southern) palyaudvars. Szolnok is the most important railway hub outside Budapest, while Tiszai Railway Station in Miskolc and the main stations of Pecs, Gyor, Szeged and Szekesfehervar are also key to the network. Budapest, Debrecen, Miskolc and Szeged have tram networks. The Budapest Metro is the second-oldest underground metro system in the world; its Line 1 dates from 1896 and is a World Heritage Site. The system consists of four lines. A commuter rail system, H╔V, operates in the Budapest metropolitan area.

Hungary has a total length of approximately 1,314 km (816.48 mi) motorways (Hungarian: autopalya). Motorway sections are being added to the existing network, which already connects many major economically important cities to the capital.

The most important port is Budapest. Other important ones include Dunaujvaros and Baja.

There are five international airports in Hungary: Budapest Liszt Ferenc, Debrecen, Sarmellek (also called Heviz-Balaton Airport), Gyor-Per and Pecs-Pogany. The national carrier, MAL╔V, operated flights to over 60, mostly European cities, but ceased operations in 2012. Low-budget airline WizzAir is based in Hungary, at Ferihegy.

LANGUAGES

According to the 2011 census, 9,896,333 people (99.6%) speak Hungarian, of whom 9,827,875 people (98.9%) speak it as a first language, while 68,458 people (0.7%) speak it as a second language.Hungarian is a Uralic language unrelated to any neighboring language and distantly related to Finnish and Estonian. English (1,589,180 speakers, 16.0%) and German (1,111,997 speakers, 11.2%) are the most widely spoken foreign languages, while there are several recognized minority languages in Hungary (Croatian, German, Romanian, Romani, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian and Ukrainian).

RELIGION

Hungary is a historically Christian country. Stephen I instituted Roman Catholicism as the official religion of the realm at its founding, and his successors were traditionally known as the Apostolic Kings. The Church in Hungary remained strong through the centuries, and the Archbishop of Esztergom (Esztergomi Úrsek) was granted extraordinary temporal privileges as prince-primate of Hungary. Although contemporary Hungary has no official religion, its constitution "recognizes Christianity's nation-building role. The power to grant the officially recognized status of a church is vested in the legislature, and not the judiciary; this setup has been the subject of criticism.

After 16th century and the Reformation, most Hungarians took up first Lutheranism, then soon afterwards Calvinism. In the second half of the 16th century, however, Jesuits led a successful campaign of counterreformation and the country once again became predominantly Catholic. Eastern parts of the country, especially around Debrecen (called "the Calvinist Rome"), retained strong Protestant communities.[132] Orthodox Christianity in Hungary is associated with the country's ethnic minorities including the Romanians, Rusyns, Ukrainians, and Serbs.

Historically, Hungary was home to a significant Jewish community. Some Hungarian Jews were able to escape the Holocaust during World War II, but most (perhaps 550,000[133]) either were deported to concentration camps, from which the majority did not return, or were murdered by the Hungarian Arrow Cross fascists. Because most deported Jews were from the countryside, Budapest is the center of Hungarian Jewish life today.

The most recent, 2011 census shows that the majority of Hungarians are Christians (52.9%), with Roman Catholics (37.1%) and Hungarian Reformed Calvinists (11.1%) making up the bulk of these alongside Lutherans (2.2%), Greek Catholics (0.3%), and Jehovah's Witnesses (0.1%). Jewish (0.1%) and Muslim (0.06%) communities are in the minority, although this is complicated by the fact that 27.2% of respondents did not declare their religion while 16.7% declared themselves irreligious, another 1.5% atheist. In the Eurostat ľ Eurobarometer poll of 2005, 44% of Hungarians answered that they believed there is a God, 31% answered they believed there is some sort of spirit or life force, and 19% that they do not believe there is a God, spirit, nor life force.

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