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The state of economy at the end of 2017

December 29th, 2017

Two conservative economists look back on the a record of the Hungarian economy in 2017, and speculate about its prospects in 2018.

Magyar Hírlap’s László Bogár contends that the Hungarian economic outlook significantly improved in 2017. The pro-government economist claims that for only the third time in several centuries, real wages in Hungary have now reached 50 per cent of the western European average. If the current government is re-elected in 2018, Hungary has a realistic chance of continuing to catch up with the richer parts of Europe, Bogár suggests. He predicts that this will be a bumpy road, as the improvement in the Hungarian economy has been achieved through a fierce battle with foreign investors.

In Heti Válasz, Péter Ákos Bod, former Minister of Industry, then President of the National Bank under the Antall government, is less than content with the dynamism of economic growth in Hungary. The independent conservative economist recalls that Hungary, once the second most developed among the Visegrád countries, is now the last. Bod acknowledges that Hungary’s relative decline is to a large extent the result of the economic crisis and poor governance before 2010, and that the economy has improved a lot since 2009. All this, he thinks, is first and foremost the result of EU funds and the return of growth in Europe. Bod concludes by claiming that the Hungarian economy could improve way faster if the government took what he calls a less voluntarist economic approach.

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