All 39 projects were successfully completed by June 2017. The initial objectives have been achieved and in some projects even surpassed.
An overwiew of the results:
Getting innovative companies off the ground
The Hungarian venture capital fund, which receives 43% of its funding from Switzerland, has supported a total of 20 SMEs and helped create 202 jobs for highly qualified workers. The fund successfully sold its shares in five of the start-up businesses that received support.
Sixty-two Hungarian doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers are taking part in a fixed-term research residency at a Swiss university thanks to SCIEX fellowships. More than 100 academic publications and four patent applications have resulted from joint research projects between Swiss and Hungarian universities.
A number of measures have improved the tourism infrastructure in the north-east of the county. In 2015, a 300m2 climbing centre with 21 metre-high walls was opened in Sátoraljaújhely, the biggest town in the mountainous wine region of Zemplén. The infrastructure was designed by a diverse group of amateur and professional climbers.
A total of 150km of water pipes made of asbestos cement have been replaced with plastic pipes or newly constructed. This has helped reduce the number of burst pipes and the consequent loss of drinking water as well as the maintenance costs involved. Thanks to Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU, more than 200,000 inhabitants of the towns and communities concerned now have access to a reliable and safe drinking water supply.
Improving the air-quality network
The reference laboratory for air quality of the Hungarian weather service and the regional laboratories have been equipped with 231 new devices for taking measurements and carrying out analyses. These state-of-the-art devices comply with the latest EU directives on air pollution. They can be used to gather more information on concentrations of heavy metals, fine dust, nitric oxide, sulphur dioxide and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. Two mobile measuring stations complement the range of the electronic surveillance network, which mainly covers major cities.
Surveillance of waste dumps and emissions controls
The inspectorate responsible for surveillance has brought into operation new laboratory equipment and two mobile measuring stations. Ten specialists have undergone specialised training to be able to use the equipment over the long term. Thanks to these acquisitions, the environmental measurement centre responsible for the greater Budapest region can now monitor and measure emissions of various pollutants in accordance with EU directives.
Raising energy efficiency
13 police stations have been renovated and equipped with energy-efficient technology.
A total of 744 education institutes were awarded the Green Kindergarten and Ecoschool Award as part of a training programme to raise awareness among kindergarten and primary school pupils. Management plans for the sustainable protection of around 200,000 hectares of "Natura 2000" areas have been drawn up.
Various flood protection projects have been funded in Hungary. For example, the embankments of two water reservoirs in the north-east of the country were reinforced, protecting some 10,000 residents from flooding. The authorities were equipped with 12.5 km of mobile protective dams, allowing them to respond to rapidly rising water levels and deploy the easily transportable dams at the specific locations most at risk. Training of specialists and a comprehensive weather forecasting model also help reduce the risk of flooding.
Enhanced security at Hungarian courts
Security checks at the entrances to courthouses are state of the art, with 108 new walk-through metal detectors and 52 X-ray scanners. Innovative IT solutions now also allow secure and reliable electronic access to court files and central databases.
Swiss NGO and partnership funds have supported various initiatives to strengthen civil society, resulting in the first Energy City label award for a Hungarian city and targeted support measures for people with disabilities. Switzerland has supported over 150 projects, about one third of which together with Swiss partners or organisations.
An innovative programme has been launched to improve the quality of healthcare, especially in disadvantaged regions, and to reach particularly disadvantaged groups such as Roma communities. Teams of GPs working in 'general practitioner centres' have provided 25,000 adults and 8,000 children with medical examinations, prevention advice, counselling and treatment. To promote professional exchange, in November 2016, 15 health professionals from Hungary made a study trip to Geneva to learn about the challenges of organising and funding primary healthcare in Switzerland. It is particularly gratifying that the Hungarian government has recently approved funding for the temporary continuation of this successful pilot programme in four municipalities.