The Opening of the Hungarian Border for the East German Refugees in 1989: A Public-Policy Analysis of a Key Decision.

György Jenei


This essay deals with the key public-policy decision by the Hungarian Prime Minister Miklós Németh to open the Hungarian border for the East German refugees in 1989. It is written by one of his two main advisors at the time, who analyzes the event and its contents and background within a public-policy framework. First, the essay analyzes the process of how the issue developed; then it deals with the content of the decision. It also opens up an academic perspective via the analysis of the outputs and outcomes and by outlining the roles of rationality and intuition in the decision. The closing section contains conclusions and lessons for the future.

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