Hungary is a Central European land-locked country in the Carpathian Basin, bordered by Slovakia, Ukraine, Austria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Its major rivers are the Danube which is navigable within Hungary for 418 km, and the Tisza River which is navigable for 444 km of the country.
Hungary has a population of 10 million and is a member of both the European Union and the Schengen zone. Its strategic position in Europe and lack of natural resources dictated that it have an export-oriented market economy with significant emphasis on foreign trade, especially within the EU countries. Major industries include pharmaceuticals, food processing, machinery, vehicles, information technology, chemicals, metallurgy, electrical goods, and tourism.
It is Central and East Europe’s largest electronics producer. It has characteristics of post-industrial economies in its employment structure, with 63.2% of the employed workforce in the service sector, industry 29.7%, and agriculture employed 7.1%. The recent unemployment rate was 3.8%.
Defeated Hungary lost 71% of its territory at the end of World War I as a result of the Treaty of Trianon. What was known as “Trianon Syndrome was suppressed during Soviet domination from 1945 until its independence in 1990 when it re-emerged in a new form. As a country, it enjoyed a liberal and economically advanced economy within the former Eastern Bloc, but in the 1970s lack of investment took its toll on agriculture and industry. In 1997 strong export performance propelled GDP growth and macroeconomic indicators improved. The government implemented structural reforms such as a fully funded pension system and reform of higher education.
Hungary’s tax-funded universal health care system is not directly paid for by children, mothers or fathers with baby(ies), students, pensioners, people with a socially poor background, the disabled, priests and church employees. Education in Hungary is free and compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16.
Hungary, with its rich past, is a veritable hive of natural, historical and cultural sites. It has a wine region, palaces, UNESCO World Heritage sites, castles, villages, a National Park and museums and beautiful architecture.
Budapest’s Grand Market Hall which is a neogothic building standing austerely near the banks of the Danube River. Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest is among the biggest outside of Israel and has seen much devastation and turmoil. The Cave Bath at Miskolc-Tapolca is a thermal spa bath located in a natural cave system. Lake Balaton is Central Europe’s largest lake.
The Busójárás festival is a lead up to Ash Wednesday when townsfolk parade through town in traditional masks with demonic faces.
Citizens of 62 countries, Australians included, presently benefitting from the visa liberation policy, who can enter Europe with only a passport, will be impacted by ETIAS. Australians wanting to visit Hungary will have to apply online using the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) once it’s implemented. The application will cost a small fee, and the process shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.
The authorisation is electronically included in your passport a few minutes after application and is valid for the duration of the passport’s validity or 3 years, whichever comes first.
Citizens of E.U. and Schengen countries will still enjoy the freedom of movement across the zone. Schengen restrictions and requirements currently in place will still apply once ETIAS is rolled out.
Hungarians were relatively scarce in Australia until the gold rush in 1850 and the influx fleeing cholera outbreaks, anti-Semitism and persecution after the unsuccessful uprising of 1848-49. Hungary’s rural depression between the 1890s and early 1900s saw many hundreds taking refuge in Australia. In 1939, Hungarian Jews fled the Nazis followed by Hungarian Jewish Holocaust survivors between 1945 and 1947.
Anti-Communists who predetermined Russian occupation of Hungary also fled before 17 000 Hungarians fled to Australia as refugees over the next five years. The end of 1957 saw Australia provide sanctuary to approximately 14 000 Hungarian refugees.
Australia and Hungary established full diplomatic relations in 1972. Bilateral agreements include treaties on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and Extradition, a bilateral Social Security Agreement, a Double Taxation Agreement, an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, an agreement on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy and the Transfer of Nuclear Material, and an Air Services Agreement. Young people from both countries are permitted to travel and work in each other’s country under the Work and Holiday visa arrangement.
Merchandise trade between the two definitely favours Hungary. Imports from Hungary are mainly passenger motor vehicles while Australian exports included medicaments and electronic integrated circuits. Total trade in services of almost eighty million Australian dollars was slight to Australia’s advantage. Australian investment in Hungary is almost ten times higher than Hungarian investment in Australia.
73,613 people in Australia are currently of Hungarian ancestry.
Australians can travel to Hungary with only a valid passport at the moment. When ETIAS is in force, Australians along with nationals from the 62 visa-exempt non-EU countries, will have to pay the fee to apply for ETIAS pre-authorisation before embarking.