1088 Budapest, Rákóczi út 5.; Tel: (36 1) 381 23 47; E-mail: Ez az e-mail-cím a szpemrobotok elleni védelem alatt áll. Megtekintéséhez engedélyeznie kell a JavaScript használatát.
Schriftenreihe des Europa Institutes Budapest, Band 25:111–125.


Environmental Protection in Hungary and Union Expectations


Domestic environmental policy as reflected by the Union requirements

Environmental protection is a Janus-faced chapter of our accession to the European Union. This area is characterised by positive features (small extent of per capita environmental burdening, good indices in the areas of the protection of nature and biodiversity, etc.) besides grave problems (wastewater treatment, urban air pollution, the lack of solution for waste management, etc.).

Differences are seen in the social assessment and support of environmental protection as well. In the developed countries demand for a neat and healthy environment became a basic need already in the 80s, and despite the change of the set of values the condition of the environment continues to be one of the most important components of the quality of life. The acceding countries are more characterised by economic and social problems such as the lagging behind of some regions and social strata, poverty becoming massive and unemployment, therefore environmental protection does not belong to the problems that are socially causing most anxiety. This difference by itself provokes some reservations in the citizens of the Member States towards the newly acceding ones.

The Essen White Paper of 1995, discussing conditions of accession laid emphasis on the “product related” (that is related to trade) tasks and to the creation of the conditions of adjustments in the area of environmental policy. This is logical, for the Member States of the EU are primarily interested in two issues of the environmental policy of the acceding countries: (1) their loose environmental policy should not mean a competitive advantage in the single market; (2) the East-Central European export goods should not endanger their citizens’ health.

A clean and healthy environment is one of the most important components of the citizens’ well-being and at the same time it is a precondition to economic growth. A good environmental policy for the present-day Hungary does not mean a pushing back and restriction of growth and consumption, but an economical and efficient handling of natural resources first and foremost. It can be achieved by the utilisation of the set of means of environmental protection, of economic incentives, legal regulation and the strength of social pressure groups that the economy may grow by a radically decreasing specific use of materials and energy and by an absolute decrease of the emission of the particularly dangerous variants of environmentally harmful substances. At present Hungary is at that stage of economic development that may result in a very rapid change of structure in the productive sphere, favourable in the sense of the environment as well. There is possibility primarily for the pushing back of the outdated technologies of the industry and their replacement by new, environmentally found ones, thus one may enjoy the environmental gift of economic modernisation. Prevention is the cheapest and best way of environmental protection. Environmental harms that are currently regarded as the gravest ones, representing immediate threat to human health, can be eliminated exclusively by modernisation. Therefore environmental strategy should not be treated separately but as an organic part of the programme of economic development.

Changes of adverse direction may be sensed in consumption and lifestyle concerning the environment. Such changes are primarily public transport squeezed to the background, a further expansion of road transport to the reduction of rail carriers, the growth of the per capita municipal solid waste and the use of energy by the population, all endangering the environment as a whole. Therefore it is important to have a comprehensive strategy for pushing back the adverse environmental effects of consumption and for spreading systems of environment-friendly, energy and water-saving and selective collection of wastes in the households.

A consistent assertion of the principles of sustainable development requires a coordinated and comprehensive strategy of economic development. It has to be promoted by the economic regulatory activities of the government. In this sense the tax system and other means of regulation have to serve the spread of material and energy-saving solutions in productive use as well as in terminal consumption and in the broadest possible employment. Incomes from taxation and social security should be ensured by a relative reduction of contributions related to employment. It does not mean cuts in personal income tax but the reduction of taxes and contributions related to income tax. An environment-friendly taxation taxes the consumption of exhaustible natural resources but it does not slow down the employment of labour.

The Hungarian economy (disregarding agriculture) generally pollutes the environment more than the economy of developed countries because of its relatively still backward structure and technical level1. At the same time the volume of economic activities, per capita consumption and the level of motorisation is much lower in our country than in the developed industrial ones, therefore the situation is more favourable here in most cases of emission calculated per capita. This fact had to be particularly stressed during the accession talks.

The 1997 assessment of the EU Commission acknowledged our achievements in environmental legislation and stated that full equalisation can be accomplished in the medium term in the field of environmental law. On the other hand, according to the Commission’s opinion the observance of environmental requirements can be hoped for only by lasting and significant investments and administrative efforts in a series of areas (urban wastewater treatment, quality of drinking water, waste management and certain areas of air pollution), that can be solved in the “long”, or “very long run” for Hungary.

The initial difference between the opinion of the Commission and Hungarian experts was presumably explained by the fact that the condition of the environment projected by the answers of the Hungarian government was less favourable than reality in several dimensions. The examples quoted by the EU Commission originated from the unjustly negative and partly distorted self-assessment (condition of the soil, wastewater management, wastes, quality of air) to a large extent. The Hungarian answer, for instance, mentioned intensive agriculture, or the nitrogen and phosphor load of waters originating from agriculture as significant problems.

A similarly negative picture was drawn about waste production and management when we ourselves stated that the specific and absolute values of production and municipal solid wastes were equally high in international comparison. Data used for assessment were mostly distorted, because neither construction debris nor the decommissioned machinery is considered by waste cadastres made for environmental protection in international practice. International comparison calls attention to the unreliability and contradictory nature of our domestic data, in other words, the above statement would clearly require improvement. Therefore the domestic waste cadastre has to be improved, yet the problems of waste management still await solution.

Our lagging behind in the area of the implementation of laws and regulations is partly of the nature of thinking and partly of finances. The shortage of finances is primarily related to our low level of economic development. Domestic companies (or of domestic owners) do not have sufficient financial resources to the development of an environment-friendly technology, and the budget to adequately finance organisations and networks enforcing the observance of rules and norms. Often there is a mistaken decision of legal policy, the lack of intention, a postponed organisational transformation, or the lack of information that are behind the low level of implementation.

The conditions of accession affect the set of institutions in several respects. As it is commonly known, subsidies from the Cohesion and Structural Funds of the EU could be drawn primarily for regional development, agriculture and environmental protection. Though the scale of those Funds, and the size of subsidies that are to open up has been uncertain (more over, even the long-term existence of those Funds was uncertain) the system of subsidies for regional development and agriculture had to be made “EU-conform” by all means in order to become suited for those resources. Regional development has been an environmental and landscape-utilising question right from the outset and as far as agriculture is concerned subsidies are being increasingly related to eco-farming and to the preservation and development of biodiversity as the recent trends in EU suggest.

The introduction of subsidiarity, the principle of optimising the work of the different decision-making levels in the Hungarian practice also affects the set of institutions.

To the extent Hungarian answers to the Commission’s questions painted an unjustly negative picture about the condition of the environment, to the same extent an unjustly positive picture was suggested about the legal practice and the development of the set of institutions. The discrepancy found in the answers given to questions about the condition of the environment and of the set of institutions may be easily explained: for the expert staff of the Ministry of the Environment the condition of the environment is an external one influenced by other branches and “polluters”, whereas the creation and development of the set of institutions, including legal norms, is an internal task and competency of the Ministry. And it is natural that one is more critical about others’ work and more lenient about one’s own.

The negative picture painted about the condition of the environment provoked doubts of an economic nature in the officials of the EU: how could the development of the infrastructure and the environmental rehabilitation programmes be financed? A more favourable view projected about the set of institutions raises the issue of the efficiency of the institutional system: if the set of institutions is adequate then why is the condition of the environment so poor?

Based on the Guidelines it is clear that the condition of the environment should have been presented more accurately and the achievements in the area of the development of institutions should have been presented little more critically. Without it the doubts of the EU-bureaucracy may not be dispersed, because the EU has gone beyond the grade of development in the protection of the environment when the dogmas declared in legislation were regarded as achievements in themselves. Environmental safety is guaranteed by respecting norms and by enforcing them. If any condition is missing (social attitude, or money), environmental safety is out of the question. The most important message of the Guidelines is that there may be unsettled problems but there cannot be problems we do not know about and have no programme for their solution.

When discussing the specificities of environmental policy of accession, it should be stressed that the protection of the environment has been acquiring an increasingly important role in EU policy. Priority is accorded to the operation of the single market and currency in the EU. Compared to it the environment is only of secondary importance; the main task of environmental regulation, together with social provision and the protection of consumers is a disturbance-free operation of the single market. It is a key issue for Hungary that the environmental and health parameters of our products should not mean a technical obstacle in trade, for it may affect the competitiveness of companies and exports, the production of different goods and hence employment.

The environmental infrastructure (wastewater drainage and treatment, waste management) of Hungary is deficient as yet, and its building requires huge sums. In contrast the integration of environmental aims into the policy of branches is already on the agenda in the developed industrial countries, including the wide implementation of recycling and the development of the environmental management of companies. The EU Directives do not always consider the different condition of the environment and the possible burdening of environmental elements in the various countries. In a significant number of cases Hungary has to implement costly developments of environmental protection in certain aspects when the condition of its environment is better than in several developed West European countries. Obviously there are business considerations also behind these efforts: there are the intentions of West European companies wishing to acquire markets for their and of pipe technologies and the products of the environmental industry.

The development of environmental infrastructure is rather costly, it significantly burdens the budget and the benefits are only indirect, manifest in a better quality of the environment and in improving health status as their consequence. In the developed industrial countries on the other hand, environmental protection is realised on company level, the introduction of environmental taxes and other elements of environmental policy, though they mean a burden for the companies, at the same time they improve their competitiveness (by saving resources as well as enhancing the environment-friendly nature of products), hence they are accompanied by direct economic advantages, too.

Those tasks of environmental policy have come to the foreground with accession that would rather serve the mitigation of global and European, and less the local and domestic problems. (The natural gas programme, the rapid limitation of the carbon-dioxide and sulphur-dioxide emission of power plants, as well as programmes related to wastewater treatment served largely the regional aim of reducing cross-border pollution.) Environmental policy enjoys greater support in environmental problems directly affecting the quality of life of the population than in global issues, whereas EU accession has pushed the latter ones to the foreground.

After the 1997 assessment of the questionnaires filled in as part of our application for accession by the Commission it is worth surveying its 2000 assessment. It begins with the following sentence: “So far, only limited progress was achieved in this area.” The Report states that “Hungary did not address the short-term Accession Partnership priorities related to the alignment with the Integrated Prevention Control Directive, the safety standards for radiation protection and the enforcement of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. However, a wide range of environmental laws are scheduled for the end of 2000.” (2000 Regular Report on Hungary’s Progress towards Accession, p. 66.)

Areas where, according to the Commission, further efforts were needed were: access to environmental information, orders of implementation of waste management, water quality standards, wastewater management, prevention and reduction of industrial pollution, noise emission by outdoor equipment of building industry and by household appliances. The administrative capacity was to be further strengthened, too.

The profession of environmental protection is inclined to explain the post-1997 slowing down of talks by the change of government in 1998 and organisational and personal problems within the Ministry of Environment. In our view the slowdown of talks was caused by a change of outlook in the EU. We succeeded in emerging from the low ebb of negotiations only by late 2001, when we closed the environmental chapter of the EU-talks with success.

The country report of the year 2001 of the Commission stated that: “Hungary has achieved a very high level of alignment with the environmental acquis. Previous delays in the ambitious transposition schedule were made up over the last year.” (2001 Regular Report on Hungary’s Progress towards Accession, p. 78.) The details of the Report discuss the need for the development of the set of environmental institutions and that of their supply with personnel. The Report does not justify sceptics who thought that our environmental situation could be one of the possible obstacles for our accession to the EU.


The state of our environment and changes of the environmental load

The state of Hungary’s natural environment may be regarded as mediocre in international comparison, and it is more or less more favourable than in the rest of the other East European countries. During the past fifteen years the set of conditions of domestic environmental policy experienced two breakages of trends. The first one was caused by economic recession and the subsequent structural change, and the second one by preparations for accession to the EU.

In Hungary economic recession following the 1990s primarily affected branches of heavy industry significantly polluting the environment, as a result of which significant improvement was reached in the so-called traditional forms of load on the environment (sulphur-dioxide, nitrogenous oxides, dust, heavy metals, etc.). The change of structure implemented in the Hungarian economy resulted in a favourable breakage of the earlier trend in the age, material and energy efficiency of the technology employed.

Structural change and the moderation of personal consumption that have set in since the change of the system, as well as a reduction in the energy consumption of the country have had a favourable influence on the environment2. It was particularly the crisis of iron and aluminium metallurgy and heavy chemical industries that could be felt in the improvement of the quality of air, and facilitated meeting the requirements of some international agreements (primarily the first one on sulphur-dioxide).

The quantity of sulphur-dioxide emitted to the air was already reduced by almost 30% between 1986 and 1990 (Table 1), mostly because of restricting the use of coal. Sulphur-dioxide emission was further reduced by another 30% between 1990 and 1995, partly due to economic recession (emission of industry and agriculture), and partly as a result of the continuation of the natural gas programme (emission by the population). The favourable effect of the power station reconstructions began to be felt only during the past years (1999). Changes of the power-station emission of sulphur-dioxide were insignificant because of technological limitations between 1990 and 1999.


Table 1. Distribution of the total of sulphur-dioxide emission (kilo ton/year)
by sources of emission between 1985 and 1999 in Hungary






















Power stations




























Source: Ministry of Environment, Department for the Protection of Environmental Elements


A similar change has taken place in respect of solid substance emission. The first radical decrease took place between 1985 and 1990 (from 491 kt./year to 205 kt./year), and subsequently a continuous improvement may be observed. Between 1990 and 1999 emission by the population was about halved (34.4 kt./year) as a consequence of the natural gas programme, but emission deriving from transport grew here too.

The annual changes of the emission of nitrogenous-oxides were characterised by a rapid fall between 1985 and 1992 (Table 2.), and a slow growth after 1992. The moderation of nitrogenous gas emission by industry and the population played a significant role in the rapid reduction up to 1992. Growth after that date is clearly related to the growth of emission by transport and power stations. As far as the nitrogenous-oxides are concerned, the “gift effects” of economic transformation can hardly be identified on the basis of the aggregate data, because nitrogenous-oxide emission grew more as a result of motorisation and the growth of electrical energy generation than its reduction was in the productive branches.


Table 2. Distribution of the emission of nitrogenous-oxides (kiloton/year)
by the significant sources of emission between 1985 and 1999 in Hungary






















Power stations




























Source: Ministry of Environment, Department for the Protection of Environmental Elements


All in all, the emission data of nitrogenous-oxides may be regarded as favourable ones because the growth of output in the productive branches has been achieved with decreasing emission. Transport emission, however, is a cause to anxiety in so far as the result of the population-household ahead of road transport and of the deteriorating output of public transport result in the growth of nitrogenous-oxide emission.

There was no significant change in methane emission playing a significant role in greenhouse effect between 1985 and 1997. As a result of decreasing animal husbandry and coal mining methane emission was 100, and 42 kilotons less respectively in 1996 than in 1985. At the same time methane emission deriving from the transportation of natural gas grew by 85, and from municipal solid waste by 87 kilotons during the same period.

The EU has been making significant efforts to regulate the emission of carbon-dioxide, the most important gas of greenhouse effect. It may be considered an achievement that our international obligations are respected in this regard too. Carbon-dioxide emission was decreasing up to 1995, and began to grow again, parallel to economic upturn. The carbon-dioxide emission of the industrial branch mostly producing economic growth and showing a significant improvement of output has been evenly decreasing and the same applies to the carbon-dioxide emission of the population as well (Table 3). In the latter case it is clearly the growth of energy prices that encourage an economical behaviour.


Table 3. Changes of the annual carbon-dioxide emission (kiloton/year)
in Hungary between 1990 and 1997













Power stations
















Source: Ministry of Environment, Department for the Protection of Environmental Elements


Favourable changes are broken in this case too by a structural transformation of transport damaging environmental output. The growth of goods transport is taking place increasingly along the roads and its environmental consequences are alarming not only in view of the carbon-dioxide emission. Contradictory processes are taking place in the environmental impact in the transport branch: the reduction of the goods transport output and the improvement of the quality of fuels as a result of economic set-back and of pushing back economic activities utilising large volumes of material, whereas the surging ahead of motorisation and the decline of railway and public transport enhance environmental damages.

Prior to the change of the system and subsequently as well the most significant social and environmental conflicts were caused by dangerous wastes. (Table 4) In addition to real problems it is also the uncertainty of information and the “blessed activities of political adventurers” also contribute to the chaos experienced in that area.


Table 4. Annual changes of the quantity of dangerous wastes between 1993 and 1997* in Hungary in t/year

Type of waste






Of vegetal and animal origin






Of mineral origin






Metal wastes






Wastes of chemical transformation






Municipal and institutional wastes






Hospital wastes






Total without red sludge






Red sludge












Source: Ministry of Environment, VEHUR and HAWIS databases.
* Unfortunately the structure of data supply was changed after 1997, therefore the data of subsequent years were not available in the same structure.


Data of Table 4 are more suited to deter than to help elaborate some kind of environmental strategy. Accordingly the quantity of dangerous wastes hardly changed despite all efforts between 1993 and 1997, which is, of course, not true. The quantity of red sludge (the waste of the processing of bauxite), for instance, dropped to less than its third. The dangerous wastes of food processing industry were reduced by more than half. Here it is worth noting that a large part of it at least does not cause irreversible changes in the environment. The quantity of the really highly hazardous wastes of chemical transformation was one-sixth in 1997 of the quantity in 1993. And one should welcome the quantitative growth of municipal and institutional hazardous wastes because it means that hazardous wastes (batteries, dry batteries, paints, solvents, etc.) that had been earlier put into municipal wastes have been successfully collected separately in growing quantities.

The distortion of the aggregate data is caused by the radical growth of the quantity of mining wastes in 1996 and 1997. “Recently” it is power station flue-ash and mining dead rock that qualify as wastes of Class III danger (growth is found on the territory of a single county). This ‘item’, however, totally hides all those achievements that have been ‘accomplished’ in the prevention of the development of hazardous wastes. The inverted commas are justified because a large part of the achievements is due to the change of the economic structure, but the result of those efforts is also significant that have caused a radical increase of the cost of making wastes harmless in the productive sphere as well as the problems that have been provoked by administrative measures for the conversion of hazardous wastes into harmless substances and by social resistance. Aggregate data cover up these favourable trends and as a result we paint a more negative image than necessary not only about the condition of our environment but also of our industry in the wake of acceding to the EU. According to the National Plan for Waste Management3 the investment demand of the management of wastes produced by economic activity would be HUF 202.7 thousand million between 2001 and 2008. It means an annual average investment of HUF 30 thousand million in economic organisations. Experts estimate almost half of this huge amount that is HUF 86 thousand million to be spent on the establishment of a National Network for the Management of Dangerous Wastes.

As a result of the transformation of agriculture the fertilizer use per hectare dropped below 50 kilos, which is one-tenth of the fertilizer utilisation per hectare in Holland or Denmark. The use of other chemicals by agriculture, hence the environmental load originating from chemicals has radically dropped. The reduction of the volume of production as well as the solvency of big farms has pushed back the utilisation of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture. The stock of animals has also been radically reduced; particularly pig-keeping that produces the most polluting liquid manure. On the other hand, the favourable environmental impact is partly damaged by the lack of control over the use of chemicals by small producers.

Environmental trends of transition: the two breakages of trends

In the early 90s the condition of our environment was much better than assumed by the makers of domestic environmental policy and by the environmental experts of the EU. As a result of a mistaken assessment of the situation the cost of catching up environmentally was overestimated by experts. Doubts emerged in the EU Member States regarding the financing of the cost of accession; Hungarian environmental policy wished to present results, when everything collapsed and it was revealed unexpectedly that the condition of the environment was better than hoped for, and no derogation was needed in that field, more over, the environmental cost of accession could even be found in domestic resources. Doubts emerged practically only about the success of the implementation of environmental policy and about the shortcomings of the set of institutions supposed to enforce implementation.

During the past ten years two breakages of trends could be experienced in the set of conditions of the Hungarian environmental policy.

1. The first breakage of trend was caused by the structural transformation of the Hungarian economy, as a result of which only a few units of heavy industries remained4. As a result of the structural change of the economy the specific utilisation of material and energy has also improved besides the productivity of labour. Harmful emission has been significantly reduced in its absolute and not only specific value.

The “environmental gift effect” of economic transformation may be summarised as follows:

– The ‘forced’ structural change of industry and of heavy industries first and foremost, as a result of which:

– The emission of sulphur-dioxide, dust, lead, carbon-dioxide, VOC and dangerous wastes has been reduced.

– The transformation of the ownership and production structure of agriculture and as a result the pushing back of intensive agricultural production (use of fertilizers and pesticides).

The improvement of environmental indices was mostly caused by the structural change of the economy, and the effect of environmental measures on the reduction of emission is insignificant. Unfortunately it is not only the environmental effect of environmental measures (catalyst programme, supporting the withdrawal of Trabant cars, etc.) that is negligible, but also their economic effectiveness is rather adverse. While structural change has unambiguously resulted in the spread of cleaner production processes that have a negative marginal cost for averting pollution, each of the environmentally targeted measures applied “end of pipe” solutions where the marginal cost for averting pollution is high.

2. The second breakage of trend was caused in environmental policy by preparations for accession to the EU and by a desire to meet the associated requirements. In keeping with the EU requirements the priorities of environmental protection were changed. Its most important signs are the following:

– We make efforts exceeding our level of development in the interest of meeting international obligations.

– Improvement is slower than it could be expected in the case of pollutions hazardous to health.

– There are no resources for averting diffuse pollutions.

– Forced building of infrastructure.

– Environmental developments mostly in the nature of “end of pipe”.

Hungarian environmental protection is not developing ‘organically’ but under ‘EU demand pressure’. In case of an organic development environmental policy would primarily strive to solve environmental problems affecting the population, and the solution of global problems and meeting obligations based on international agreements would be classified behind it. As a result of accession international obligations have been put to a place further ahead on the ranking list of other tasks to be solved. Accession to the EU has put them in the frontline, and this is one of the explanations of less social support accorded to environmental policy.

The two breakages of trends were accompanied by a number of advantageous consequences but resulted in imbalanced development. The framework Act on environmental protection, passed in 1995, and the emission limit values meet the EU requirements, but the set of institutions has had an uneven development. The necessary conditions to the operation of several institutions possessing decisive authorisation in environmental protection are missing. The self-governments of communities have several environmental authorisations to which they have inadequate personal or objective conditions. A problem difficult to solve is presumably not caused by eliminating the conspicuous shortcomings of the infrastructure in environmental policy but by the elimination of mistrust in the existing set of institutions. The adverse consequences of that mistrust are manifest most in waste management, and particularly in relation to the management of hazardous wastes. The development of the set of institutions in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity is more time-consuming than it was originally assumed by the time-span of EU-enlargement. No adequate attention was accorded to the development of the institutional system; therefore we could hardly cut from lags in this field.

In addition to the two breakages of trends mentioned above the Hungarian economy could target a third one too: namely an environmental policy representing a far more advanced level of care for the environment and its adequate implementation by environmental technology. We would have relatively better chances for it because the Hungarian economy is just beginning to have an upturn. There are good chances for doubling the size of the economy within 15 years. It is not indifferent, however, in what structure this doubling would take place. Unfortunately a rapid economic growth demands the development of such branches of industry first and foremost that function as accelerators, in other words, that have a growth-incentive effect spreading in rings. Such areas are, for instance, road construction and housing, or the development of vehicle industry. These industries, however, function as accelerators also in the direction of burdening the environment. In case we developed local supply systems by strengthening regionalisation along a more differentiated economic policy these local economies could produce a higher quality of life even with less growth.

As the end-of-pipe solutions are mostly the products of conventional environmental industry, the excessive development of this branch generates pressure of supply and may become an obstacle to the spread of cleaner production. It would be therefore feasible to suppress the developmental phase of a ‘recycling economy’ to the minimum, despite the fact that recycling industry also generates growth, but mostly to the detriment of environmental capital. It encourages growth in the short run, but it is of limiting effect in the longer run.


Trends of change of the condition of Hungarian environment after 2000

Hungary became a member of the EU on 1 May 2004, and we have good chances to meet the requirements of the EU Directives within five or six years. In this context it should be remembered that even the EU Member States were accorded postponement for the often mentioned Directive for integrated prevention and control of pollution up to 2007. The Directive is being implemented by us too for new investments and the requirements can be met in the case of the already existing facilities up to 2007.

Interestingly several of our environmental indices demanded by EU membership would also improve. Under the impact of building sewages the gap of public utilities is becoming narrower, but the demand for building materials related to construction investments, the demand of those facilities of space and the ‘big industry’ nature of investments induce huge over-use of natural resources. The protection of the waters in layers could be solved differently too that would be more effective economically as well as environmentally. In case not only the environmental effects study would be done about these facilities under construction or planned but also the so-called ecological lifecycle analysis as well, and presumably we would have to look for other solutions. The situation is similar in the case of motorway construction, supported by several arguments of economic development, but by which we cut the natural eco-systems into ‘islands’ thus causing a further reduction of biodiversity. The demand of materials as well as the environmental balance of road traffic generated by the future motorways is unambiguously negative.

These developments significantly improve the indices monitored by EU officials. Building sewages and environmental investments related to motorways (noise walls, passages built for animals, etc.) increase the share of environmental expenses in the GDP. More over, a further spread of motorisation may have the same effect as the value of catalysts accounted for as an environmental cost. Currently domestic statistics is not yet registering these expenditures under the heading of environmental costs, but they are already regarded as such in the West, or in the Czech Republic.



1. Bándi, Gula: Az Európai Unió környezetvédelmi szabályozása. (Environmental Regulation of the European Union). KJK, Budapest, 1999.

2. Enyedi, György: Fenntartható fejlődés – Mit kell fenntartani? (Sustainable Development – What Is to Be Sustained?) Magyar Tudomány, 1994. 10. 1151–1160.

3. Fodor, István: Környezetvédelem és regionalitás Magyarországon. (Environmental Protection and Regionality in Hungary). Dialóg Campus Kiadó, Budapest, Pécs, 2001. 488.

4. Hargitai, Árpádné – Izikné Hedri, Gabriella – Palánkai, Tibor: Európa zsebkönyv: Az Európai Unió és Magyarország. (Europe Pocketbook: The European Union and Hungary). Euration /etc./ 1995. 274.

5. Horváth, Gyula – Illés, Iván: Regionális fejlődés és politika – A gazdasági és szociális kohézió erősítésének feladatai Magyarországon az Európai Unióhoz való csatlakozás időszakában. (Regional Development and Policy – Tasks of Strengthening Economic and Social Cohesion in Hungary during the Period of Accession to the European Union) Európai Tükör, Műhelytanulmányok 16., ISM, Budapest, 1997.

6. Kiss, Károly: Az uniós csatlakozás környezetvédelmi feltételeinek hatásvizsgálata. (Impact Assessment of the Environmental Conditions of Accession to the Union) Gazdaság, vállalkozás, vezetés, 1999/1.

7. Magyarország környezeti mutatói (Environmental Indices of Hungary): KöM Környezeti Információs Tanulmányok. Szerk.: Szabó Elemér, Pomázi Sitván, Budapest, 2002.

8. Török, Ádám: Ipar- és versenypolitika az Európai Unióban és Magyarországon. (Industrial and Competition Policy in the European Union and in Hungary) Európai Tükör, Műhelytanulmányok 2. Budapest, 1997.




This statement covers extremes set far apart, because direct foreign investment usually represents the most advanced technical level.


From PJ 1316 of the year 1989 to 1043 PJ in 1994, and even after a new beginning of economic growth the 1998 value was only 1046 PJ.


See the homepage of the Ministry of Environment/Ministry of Environment and Water Management. The data quoted are taken from Table 11 of the Draft. The National Plan for Waste Management is far more modern than the earlier one criticised here as well, yet it did not succeed in fully breaking away from the early conditioning that assumes growth in almost every field. In my view, despite the extension of the sphere of waste collection, the stabilisation of emission may be expected in the field of dangerous wastes, but the actual reduction of the volume produced is even more probable.


In his paper Ádám Török (1997) quoted Dunaferr and Borsodchem as positive examples. Perhaps it is not accidental that these big firms have been making significant efforts in the interest of improving their environmental output as well right from the outset, the environmental management system of Borsodchem is testified according to the ISO 14 001, and the monitoring system of Dunaferr is exemplary.