29 of the 39 projects have been completed by the end of 2016. All projects have resulted in many positive and concrete results. Below is an overview based on the five project goals.
Results in Hungary
Getting innovative companies off the ground
The Hungarian venture capital fund, which receives 43% of its funding from Switzerland, has supported 20 SMEs and helped create 202 jobs for highly qualified workers. With three of the young enterprises that received support the fund could sell its shares in 2016.
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.
Switzerland is supporting four water-supply projects in Hungary. To date, a total of 142km 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.
Improving the air-quality network
The reference laboratory for air quality of the Hungarian weather service and the regional laboratories have been equipped with 192 new devices for taking measurements and carrying out analyses. With these devices more information can be gathered 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.
Raising energy efficiency
Seven police stations and immigration centres 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.
A new information and forecasting model, supplemented by a network of measuring stations and a modern digital radio and communication system, provide 350,000 people living in the north-east of Hungary with better protection against flooding. In addition, contingency plans have been brought up to date and the authorities have been provided with 12km of mobile protection dams. Two dams for reservoirs as well as drainage systems have been renovated, thus protecting communities of some 10,000 residents from flooding.
NGO and partnership funds: This fund helps to strengthen civil society and facilitates the sharing of experience between institutions in the new EU member states and their Swiss partners. More than 150 projects have been supported, of which approximately one third with Swiss partners.
In a pilot programme, newly set up teams of family doctors have increased the quality of healthcare, especially in disadvantaged regions. As a result, 25,000 people have undergone health examinations. In order to promote professional exchange, 15 Hungarian health professionals took part in a study visit to Geneva in November 2016 where they learnt about Switzerland’s challenges in organising and funding basic medical care. The participants also discussed the need to build up non-hospital care services and to strengthen the role of nursing staff.