Hungary: Understanding Western Messages

László Valki

in Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 2: International and Transnational Factors

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780199244096
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600371 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 Hungary: Understanding Western Messages

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Describes the Western influence on the democratic consolidation in Hungary in the 1980s and the 90s, focusing primarily on problems and conflicts, yet pointing out the historically unprecedented task of successful democratic consolidation. The West provided the Hungarian political and economic elite with an attractive democratic pattern as early as the 1980s. The chapter shows that democratic consolidation has proceeded more easily in Hungary than in most East European countries. In 1989, the Hungarian political and economic elite was relatively well prepared to establish democratic political institutions and to introduce a market economy. New reforms introduced between the 1960s and 1989 contributed to the establishment of a ‘social compromise’ reached between the political leadership and the nation. The increasing deficit in Hungary's balance of payments in the 1980s as a result of the oil crises, meant that the country had to obtain Western loans and became increasingly dependent on Western political decision makers, who used this opportunity to apply the policy of conditionality.

Keywords: balance of payments; conditionality; democratic consolidation; democratic institutions; elites; Hungary; loans; market economy; social compromise; Western influence

Chapter.  12126 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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