Hungary. According to
countryaah, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány ended up in
blustery weather early in the year after claiming that there
were "many terrorists" in Saudi Arabia's national football
team. The Hungarian national team had played against them
with "death-defying courage," according to Gyurcsány. The
statement was made at a private party party with the
socialists but was quoted in the press. Gyurcsány was forced
into a public apology, which the Arab embassies in Budapest
said to accept.
In February, the capital of Budapest was invaded by
hundreds of tractors and agricultural machinery in a peasant
protest against the government's delay in the payment of EU
grants. Thousands of farmers protested across the country,
and the government promised to speed up the payments.
In the spring, Hungary was in conflict with several large
EU countries that wanted to slow Croatia's EU accession on
the grounds that it did not cooperate sufficiently with the
UN Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Prime Minister Gyurcsány
criticized Britain, France and Germany, saying there was no
evidence of the allegations against Hungary's neighbor
In the election of a new president in June, opposition
candidate László Sólyom won over Socialist Katalin Szili.
The vote in Parliament was 185 against 182.
In the economic area, the budget deficit was a continuing
problem. The government's goal that Hungary should switch to
euro 2010 seemed to be in danger. During the autumn, the
government also received criticism from the European
Commission for not reporting the budget figures fairly.
The government's efforts to attract foreign industries
with favorable conditions continued to be successful during
the year. In October, Korean tire manufacturer Hankook
announced that it would invest the equivalent of close to
SEK 5 billion in a factory south of Budapest. The production
is estimated to give about 1,500 new jobs. Like neighboring
Slovakia, Hungary is thus developing more and more into a
center for the automotive industry. Audi, Suzuki and others
International car manufacturers have factories in the