Economic and social progress in the CEE region is essential for a successful EU cohesion policy, Minister of Finance Mihály Varga said at the Krynica Economic Forum, where countries involved discussed the elaboration of the EU Carpathian Region Macro-regional Strategy.

At the ministerial-level meeting where leaders from four countries have gathered, the Minister of Finance said that the Strategy could add strong impetus to the region’s progress through the joint development of competitiveness, environmental and natural resource efficiency, transport and digital infrastructure as well as institutional partnerships. At the conference, held with the participation of Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia and Hungary, the Minister noted that within Hungary the Strategy focused mainly on development options in the Northern Hungary region, and from this the region’s cross-border relations may benefit.

Green industrial development has a strong potential in industrial areas struggling with a structural crisis, while sustainable tourism may be a stepping stone for regions with hitherto unexploited natural and cultural resources. In addition, the strengthening of social economy and innovation may be a key factor for less developed regions, and the development of transport, digital accessibility and e-services may bring enormous advantages for Hungary’s sparsely populated areas, the Minister stressed.

The Strategy may also bolster the region’s integration and provide additional cooperation opportunities for countries of the V4 and the CEE region, he added.

Close cooperation with regard to existing regional strategies and partnership initiatives, especially the Danube Region Strategy and the Carpathian Framework Convention, is indispensable, he said.

Speaking of Hungarian economic indicators the Minister noted that the following trends provided a firm foundation for cooperation: a positive U-turn in terms of competitiveness was taking place in Hungary, the economy was growing at a rate of above 4 percent, investment volume was rising,  the government-debt-to-GDP ratio was declining and the economic environment was predictable. At the forum, participants signed an MoU on the elaboration of the Carpathian Region Strategy and thus they expressed commitment to the project.

(Ministry of Finance)