“The ratio of Hungarian-owned enterprises within the economy with relation to added value must be significantly increased”, candidate for the post of Minister for Technology and Innovation László Palkovics said at his joint hearing before Parliament’s Economic and Cultural committees on Monday, following which the majority of both committees approved his appointment.

Although 97 percent of enterprises are Hungarian-owned, they nevertheless generate less added value than the multinational companies that constitute the remaining 3 percent, Mr. Palkovics explained, calling for an increase in the productivity of Hungarian enterprises via the application of innovation and new technologies.

From among the related tasks, he listed building Hungarian-owned global value chains and Hungarian brands, and keeping multinational companies operating in Hungary, as well the inclusion of further higher added value activities on their part with the help of Hungarian-owned enterprises as local partners. He said it was necessary to increase the competitiveness of Hungarian SMEs through reducing taxes and administrative burdens, as is increasing the sector’s productivity and innovation capabilities via the establishment of a university-based innovation ecosystem. According to Mr. Palkovics, workforce productivity must also be increased through the development of adult education, with regard to which Hungary is lagging behind to a significant extent. Our goal is to ensure that one out of every four people learn something and receive further training during the course of their work, he stressed.

The new Ministry will be responsible for innovation and for coordinating technologies, amongst others, but its portfolio will also include vocational training and adult education.

Mr. Palkovics listed artificial intelligence (AI), robotisation and automation as the Ministry’s priority fields, stressing that the appearance of new technologies is leading to the reorganisation of the labour market, although they are not reducing the required workforce but are instead posing new requirements.

With relation to the structure of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, Mr. Palkovics told the committees that he will himself be heading the State Secretariat for Knowledge and Innovation as Minister, while Péter Cseresznyés will be Parliamentary State Secretary, László György will be responsible for general economic development and regulation, Balázs József Weingartner will be in charge of sustainability, and the State Secretariat for Energy and Climate will be headed by Péter Kaderják. László Mosóczi will be Minister of State for Transport Policy, Ákos Kara will be in charge of the State Secretariat for Info-Communications and Consumer Protection, while EU Affairs will be headed by Tamás Schanda.

Following the hearing, the Economic Committee approved Mr. Palkovics’s appointment by 10 votes to 3, while the Cultural Committee accepted the candidate’s appointment to the post by 8 votes in favour and four against, with 2 abstentions.