“The economy should be Hungarian, green and high-tech”, Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics said in summary of the government’s economic plans at the University of Debrecen’s economic year-opening partner meeting on Thursday.

The Minister highlighted reinforcing the role of Hungarian enterprises and increasing the efficiency of small and medium-sized enterprises, which employ two thirds of Hungarian workers. He mentioned that the tax burden on SMEs has fallen significantly since 2010, while their export capacity has increased by some 45 percent.

Mr. Palkovics said the innovation level of SMEs is an important obstacle to their development, the increase of which is being supported by the Hungarian Multinational Programme, the Modern Model Plant Programme, and via the development of SMEs operating within free enterprise zones. According to the Minister, the main direction of Hungarian economic strategy is the establishment of a high-tech background. “The high-tech sector generates 70 percent of the added value produced by Hungarian industry”, he added.

He spoke about the National Digitalisation Strategy and the challenges facing the Hungarian research & development system. He highlighted the establishment of the Hungarian Science Policy Council, which is due to hold its first meeting shortly. The government has reinforced the National Research, Development and Innovation Office, while K&F expenditure is being increased by 25 percent from 2020 out of Hungarian budgetary resources, all of which is expected to lead to an increase in the Hungarian economy’s innovative capability.

Mr. Palkovics spoke about the fact that the restructuring of the higher education system had begun in 2014 in the interests of enabling institutions to respond to regional environmental demands and challenges, the results of which are already beginning to become apparent.

“The goal of the establishment of a university-centred innovation ecosystem is for internationally competitive Hungarian enterprises to be established and develop further”, he underlined.

At the end of his lecture, he said the innovative environment established by the University of Debrecen was unique, and announced that the university’s new innovation centre will be opened in early 2021.

Mayor of Debrecen László Papp (Fidesz-KDNP) highlighted the cooperation that has developed over the past two decades between the city, the university and local businesses, and which together with government funding is the guarantor of the previously backward Northern Great Plain region becoming  one of the most competitive regions in Hungary and the European Union.

Rector of the University of Debrecen Zoltán Szilvássy also stressed the importance of cooperation, particularly highlighting the increasingly close relations between the University of Debrecen and the Hungarian Defence Force, which could result in even more innovative solutions.

At the economic year-opener, University Chancellor Zoltán Bács said the most important tasks of 2020 include the development of engineering training and of the science and innovation park, as well as improving the quality of patient care and the stability of its financial position.