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Left-wing author dismisses plans to catch up with the EU average as unrealistic

September 8th, 2023

A left-wing historian who lives in California suggests that the Hungarian government is chasing a mirage with its economic policies.

In Népszava, Iván T. Berend, a prominent ‘reform communist’ historian who has been living in the United States since the 1990 regime change deems it ‘insolent’ on the part of the Hungarian government to demand financial transfers from the European Union while ceaselessly denigrating it. The 93-year-old academic thinks the EU is rightly withholding funds from Hungary on account of rule of law concerns. He writes that the government’s ‘Eastern opening’ has barely brought any results, as China and South Korea only account for 13 percent of Hungary’s imports, while Russia’s share is a mere 3 percent. Berend also sees the government’s plan to reach 85 to 90 percent of the EU average economic output levels by 2030 as pie in the sky. Hungary’s GDP per capita is just half of the EU average ($18 thousand compared to $34 thousand) which means that to reach that target Hungary should produce many times the average 2 percent projected annual EU growth rate. That is way out of proportion with what the government itself has forecast for the forthcoming years, he points out.

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