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03/12/2008 : Country Seminar on Hungary

"Hungary's Economic Policy Challenges: From Crisis Management to Sustainability"

Hungary is now at an important and critical juncture in economic policy making. The country has experienced disappointing GDP growth rates and high annual inflation recently, although the private sector economy has proved to be more resilient to the slowdown than previously thought. Hungary also struggles with one of the highest budget deficits in the EU despite a significant adjustment to consolidate public finances as well as numerous steps taken to implement the structural reform agenda. Moreover, the current global crisis has hit the Hungarian financial markets particularly hard. As a response, the Government adopted a new comprehensive economic policy programme to restore investor confidence and the international community supports these efforts through loan facilities of EUR 20 billion (including EUR 6.5 billion from the EU, EUR 12.5 billion from the IMF and EUR 1 billion from the World Bank). However, even in today’s gloomy economic and financial climate, it is important to keep in focus the medium and long-term developments of Hungary.

Scope of the seminar

The aim of the seminar is to facilitate the discussion on two imminent economic policy challenges, which the recent financial crisis has made even more acute. The first session of the seminar will look at factors that could raise the growth potential in Hungary, in particular in a regional perspective by investigating current labour market challenges, while the second will focus on measures and structural reforms required to ensure a durable and sustainable fiscal consolidation with a view to ending the excessive deficit procedure. Finally, a panel discussion will give an opportunity to reflect on the two sessions, and will cover other aspects such as the financial vulnerabilities of the Hungarian economy and the reform of the financial sector regulation and supervision.

List of speakers and panelists

Marco Buti (Chair, European Commission), Gábor Oblath (Key Speaker, National Bank of Hungary), Lajos Bokros (Key Speaker, Central European University), Ágota Scharle (Budapest Institute for Policy Analysis), Jim Morsink (International Monetary Fund), László Csaba (University of Debrecen), István Hamecz (OTP Fund Management Ltd.), Álmos Kovács (Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Finance), Jan Svejnar (University of Michigan), Max Watson (Wolfson College Oxford), Elena Flores Gual (European Commission), István P. Székely (European Commission) and Barbara Kauffmann (European Commission).

Date and venue

3 December 2008, Berlaymont Building (1st floor) – Salle Walter Hallstein
200 rue de la Loi, 1040 Brussels



For any queries, please contact the organising team by e-mail or by fax (+32-2-296 94 28).

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