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LE MONDE HUNGARYThe Bálna (Whale), a cultural,entertainment and gastronomiccentre.FACTS &FIGURESPHOTOS: WOWHUNGARY.COM, BUDAPESTINFO.HU, ADOBE SSTOCKUntil the age of six, the late Hollywood starTony Curtis spoke only Hungarian. The reason:His parents came from Hungary. Numerousother Hungarians also achieved internationalsuccess. These include the journalist Joseph Pulitzerand the Pulitzer Prize, which is named after him.They also include the architect and designer MarcelBreuer, the magician Harry Houdini, known for hisexceptional escape stunts, the actress and socialiteZsa Zsa Gabor, the composers and pianists FranzLiszt and Béla Bártok, as well as a number of HungarianNobel Prize winners. The Hungarian entrepreneurand philanthropist George Soros also becamefamous when he brought the Bank of England to itsknees in 1992 by betting against the British pound.Soros, born in August 1930, is regarded in Hungaryas a person who is subject to much criticism.Keyword criticism: The currently best known Hungarianis Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The politician,who is regarded as the inventor of 'illiberal democracy',is also repeatedly confronted with accusationsfrom the EU, other states and international observers.One of these accusations was aimed at the introductionof the Hungarian emergency law, whichstatesman Orbán had initiated on the occasion of theoutbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and which enabledhim to govern by decree.Brussels has not taken action against this Coronaemergency law. In the third week of May, Prime MinisterOrbán announced that the Corona EmergencyLaw would be repealed at the end of May. AndorNagy, Ambassador of Hungary in Vienna: “The figureswere good. As Orbán had stressed, the measuresonly remained in force until the end of the emergency.It turned out that the hysterical disinformationcampaign was unnecessary”.However, proceedings are still pending forbreaches of EU treaties, for example for interventionsby the Central Bank, the judiciary or the dataprotection authority. The restriction of the freedomof the press is also frequently criticised. In addition,the membership of Orbán Fidesz's party in the EuropeanPeople's Party (EPP) is being questioned. AndorNagy, Ambassador of Hungary in Vienna: “ViktorOrbán is a political veteran on the Europeanparty stage. Almost nobody has been re-elected threetimes in a row with such a large majority. Orbán testsborders, but always does it only to protect the interestsof the Hungarians, in the interest of his owncountry but also of Europe.”Hungary's economy, like that of almost everycountry on the planet, will suffer a setback as a resultof the Covid-19 pandemic. The extent of the impactcan be assessed on the basis of estimates by the EUCommission. According to the European EconomicForecast prepared by the Commission in May,Hungary's real GDP could fall by six percent in 2020.For Austria, the estimates point to a decline of 5.5percent, for the entire EU a minus of 7.4 percent isexpected. Hungary joined the EU on 1 May 2004, butis not a member of the euro area.In recent years, however, Hungary's economy haddeveloped well. According to the Austrian FederalEconomic Chamber (WKO), Hungary's gross domesticproduct rose by between two percent in 2013 and5.1 percent in 2018. In the previous year, economicoutput increased by 4.9 percent. Hungary thus recordedthe second strongest real GDP increase in theEuropean Union after Malta and performed significantlybetter than the eurozone countries, whoseGDP growth averaged 1.2 percent. Moreover, the annualeconomic upturn since 2013 has been consistentlystronger than in Austria.In 2017, Austria recorded per capita health careexpenditure of just under USD 4,940, while Hungaryspent around USD 980. Nevertheless, the official figurespoint to good Hungarian crisis management indealing with Covid-19. This is confirmed by figuresfrom the American Johns Hopkins University, foundedin 1876. According to these figures, Hungaryhad 4.62 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants as of 18 May2020. In Austria, the number of deaths per 100,000inhabitants was 7.11. At that time, San Marino with121.36 and Belgium with 79.25 deaths per 100,000inhabitants were the worst hit.With a share of around 65 percent, the servicesector contributes the most to Hungary's economicoutput. Just under a third of GDP is generated in theindustrial sector, and around 3.5 percent by agriculture.Among its trading partners, Germany is by farthe most important with 27.7 percent of exports and24.7 percent of imports. A large proportion of Hungarianexports are made by foreign-owned companies.The Hungarian pharmaceutical and IT industryhas also been able to establish itself in the export sector.Foreign trade is very important, as 93 percent ofHungary's industrial output is exported.Hungary's industry has a great tradition. Themost important branches of industry are mechanicalengineering and the manufacturing industry. In re-HUNGARYCapital: BudapestGovernment: Hungary is arepublic. The head of state isthe incumbent PresidentJános Áder. The President iselected for five years. Theexecutive power is exercisedby the government ofHungary with Prime MinisterViktor Orbán as head ofgovernment. The HungarianGovernment is accountableto the Hungarian Parliament(Országgyűlés).Area: 90.530 sqkm2(111th biggest country in theworld)Population: 9.7 million(2019)Ethnic Groups: Hungarian84.0%, Romani 3.0%,German 1.0%, Slovaks 0.3%,Romanians 0.3%, Croats0.2%, unspecified 11.2%(2011 est.)Currency: Hungarian Forint(HUF)GDP: $170.4 billion (2019)GDP per person: $17.643(2019)Formation:• Traditional founding date25 December 1000,crowning of King Stephen I.• On 30 March 1867, theAustro-Hungarian dualmonarchy was established.• On 16 October 2018, theRepublic was proclaimed.With 691 rooms, the Hungarian Parliamentis Europe's largest government building.New York Café at the BoscoloHotel, one of the most beautifulcafés in the world.24 Cercle Diplomatique 2/2020Cercle Diplomatique 2/202025