Country Listing

Hungary Table of Contents


Relations with the West

In the 1970s and 1980s, the consensus between regime and society in Hungary called for political support for the regime in return for improvements in the standard of living and a loosening of regime controls over society. Hungary needed Western economic support to raise its standard of living. Western economic support also entailed a modicum of political support. Hungary put out feelers to Austria as early as 1964 and sought to use that country--a permanent neutral--as a bridge to the West. Subsequently, the Hungarians turned to West Germany, historically the country's most important trade partner in Central Europe. In the mid- to late 1980s, Hungary has also sought to improve relations with Britain and the United States. In each case, Hungary wanted increased trade and cultural contacts. By contrast, in 1988 Hungary had only begun to cultivate relations with France, and economic and cultural contacts with that country therefore remained at a low level.

Data as of September 1989