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Yearbook 2001

Hungary. In January, the Hungarian government decided to demand compensation from Romania for the equivalent of just over SEK 1 billion for damage sustained the year before, when the Tisza River in Hungary was poisoned by cyanide spill from a Romanian gold mine.

2001 Hungary

According to Countryaah, prior to the EU summit in Gothenburg in June, Hungary accepted as the first candidate country the transitional period of up to seven years requested by the EU before the free movement of labor is extended to new member states. Hungary was expected to finalize its negotiations on EU membership in 2002.

Hungary's neighboring countries were very critical since the Hungarian Parliament in June passed a law giving ethnic Hungarians in Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine special rights in Hungary. Three million people are affected. They receive identity cards as Hungarians, the right to work for three months each year, the right to free health care and good opportunities for study. The Hungarian government wants to attract labor to the country's growing economy, but neighboring countries see the law as discriminatory because it favors a people group and targets certain countries. The opposition in Hungary has also criticized the law. Tens of thousands of ethnic Hungarians are already working illegally in Hungary, where wages are usually higher than in their home countries. The Hungarian diaspora was created when Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory after the First World War. Just before the New Year, when the new law came into force, Hungary complied with Romania's demand that all Romanian citizens be covered by the rights. This led to protests from opposition and trade unions in Hungary, which feared an invasion of Romanian job seekers.

In September 2001, Hungary became the first NATO country to decide to invest in the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen for the renewal of the Air Force. Negotiations were started for Hungary to lease a number of Gripen from Sweden for twelve years.

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