Hungary

   

Environmental Policies

#21
Key Findings
With implementation concerns despite an adequate legal framework, Hungary falls into the middle ranks internationally (rank 21) in the area of environmental policies. Its score on this measure has declined by 0.3 points relative to 2014.

The country has comprehensive environmental laws, strongly influenced by EU policies. However, the issue has not been a focus for the government. Policy has thus been fragmented, and problems such as drinking-water contamination and waste-site mismanagement have grown. Air pollution and urban construction in particular remain unaddressed problems.

Environmental issues have largely been dealt with by a department of the Ministry of Agriculture, from which a large number of employees were fired in 2018.

The country is expanding its use of nuclear power, which will help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, but has raised numerous other environmental issues.

Environment

#26

How effectively does environmental policy protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment?

10
 9

Environmental policy effectively protects, preserves and enhances the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy largely protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy insufficiently protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 2
 1

Environmental policy has largely failed to protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
Environmental Policy
5
As the 2011 constitution incorporated “green” values, the constitutional basis for environmental policy in Hungary is strong. Comprehensive environmental regulations are in place, and the EU continues to serve as an important driver of policy action. However, environmental policy has suffered from a lack of commitment and institutional fragmentation. Ever since the second Orbán government, no separate Ministry of Environmental Policy has existed. Environmental issues have largely been dealt with by the Ministry of Agriculture, in a department. Here a large number of employees were fired in 2018, a fact heavily criticized by Greenpeace. However, water management has rested with the Ministry of the Interior, and, the subnational environment authorities have become part of the newly created government offices at the county level. Due to the low importance attached to the protection of the environment, problems such as the frequent contamination of drinking water resources and the mismanagement of garbage sites poisoning the environment have grown. The megalomaniac construction activities of the government have led to a serious “deforestation” in Budapest, as hundreds of big trees in many parts of the capital have been cut. Especially in the field of air pollution (particulate matter emissions) there is little if no progress. The extension of the Paks nuclear power plant has been one of the biggest bones of contention between the government and the opposition, since the Danube may not be sufficient in cooling the hot water produced by Paks-2.

Citations:
OECD (2018): Environmental Performance Review: Hungary. Paris (https://www.oecd.org/publications/hungary-2018-9789264298613-en.htm).

Global Environmental Protection

#17

To what extent does the government actively contribute to the design and advancement of global environmental protection regimes?

10
 9

The government actively contributes to international efforts to design and advance global environmental protection regimes. In most cases, it demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, fosters their advancement and initiates appropriate reforms.
 8
 7
 6


The government contributes to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes. It demonstrates commitment to existing regimes and occasionally fosters their advancement or initiates appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but neither fosters their advancement nor initiates appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
5
Issues of global environmental protection do not feature very prominently in Hungary. The Orbán government has stressed its commitment to the EU’s environmental policy but has not been a driving force. The controversial extension of the Paks nuclear power plant will help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions but has raised other environmental issues such as the storage of nuclear waste. Moreover, it has prompted conflicts with neighboring countries.
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