chapter  4
15 Pages

From the Soviet Bloc to the European Community: Migrating professional footballers in and out of Hungary

Hungary has undergone fundamental social and political changes in the last 20 years. The country rid itself of Soviet communist oppression and moved from a one-party to a multi-party (political pluralism) system. This generated extensive transitions affecting all aspects of Hungarian society. Although after some initial turmoil the political system slowly began to consolidate, Hungary’s economy did not develop with the desired velocity. Financial instability was present in all areas of the country in the 1990s (Meusburger, 2001) as the communist regime left Hungary with obsolete economic and social conditions. According to a survey carried out in 2000, 82 per cent of the respondents lived better during the old regime than in the new democracy (FRIDE, 2002). Gyula Horn, Prime Minister of Hungary between 1994 and 1998, expressed the difficulty of economic transition as follows:

During the first year of transformations, 1.5 million Hungarians lost their jobs; we did not reach the production figures of 1989 until the year 2000; we had to wait until 2002 to regain the standard of living we had in 1989, even though it was not especially high.