Hungary Table of Contents
Since the mid-1960s, good relations between Hungary and Austria have resulted from a number of factors. A common water system, including the Danube, the Drava, and the Mur rivers, together with countless smaller rivers and Lake Fert (Neusiedlersee), meant each country's use of it affected the other country. Means of transportation, including road and railroad connections such as the Raba-Odenburger railroad line, also drew the countries together. Equally important, in the mid1960s each country came to accept the permanence of the other's social system and attempted to find common areas of agreement despite political differences. Finally, in 1981 the two countries agreed that the border, which had earlier caused discord, no longer presented a problem.
In the 1980s, economic relations between Hungary and Austria were quite strong. More than 100 cooperation agreements in areas such as machine-building, metallurgy, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and light industry were in force between the two countries. In 1986 total trade between the two countries amounted to US$1.1 billion. Hungary was Austria's fourth largest trade partner overall, and Austria was Hungary's second largest Western trade partner.
The two countries also cooperated considerably in culture, science and technology, sports, and other fields. The Hungarian Cultural Institute in Vienna organized an average of fifty events per year, and the Austrians operated their own cultural institute in Budapest. In 1987 the Hungarian-Austrian Friends Circle was established to promote common cultural traditions and Hungarian interest in Austrian history and culture. In the late 1980s, the theme that the two countries shared "a special relationship" has recurred in both governments' commentaries on their political relations. The Hungarian media also stressed the Central European identity and interests common to the two countries.
Data as of September 1989