1 Oct

On 27 September 2018 the Competitiveness Council discussed agenda items relating to industry and internal market. The Hungarian delegation was led by Mr László György Minister of State for Economic Strategy and Regulation, Ministry for Innovation and Technology.

The permanent competitiveness “check-up” agenda item focused on regional dimension for Competitiveness Policy. In its presentation the Commission highlighted the importance of regional convergence as a factor contributing to the overall increase of productivity growth and competitiveness.

State Secretary Mr László György acknowledged the importance of regional aspects in productivity development. As the Friends of Cohesion Conference – held in Budapest the week before – confirmed, the cohesion and structural funds are still vital in our region. Mr György also pointed out that the coordination of EU sectoral policies, what we usually refer to as “mainstreaming”, is no less relevant at regional level. It has been our long-standing position that legislations covering areas such as climate, environment, energy, transport have to be aligned with competitiveness objectives.

As a follow up of the fruitful discussions at the Informal Meeting of Competitiveness Ministers (Internal Market and Industry) in Vienna on 15-16 July 2018, the ministers continued the in-depth discussion on reinforced industrial strategy for the EU focusing on areas like digitalization, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) and their significant effect on the nature of employment and growth. The Member States welcomed the Commission’s AI initiatives (strategy and the preparatory work on an action plan) and agreed that increasing investment and reinforcing ICT education and training. Some delegations were also vocal about the need for an open data policy approach, as data is the most important raw material for AI. In his intervention Mr László György argued the ongoing industrial transformation is expected to have significant social consequences (such as job losses and job creation), therefore it is pressing to create balance between technological trends and social factors in the framework of the new European Industrial Strategy. As a solution to this challenge, he added, Hungary regards as a priority the higher participation of the EU13 countries in the Horizon Europe Programme, and at the same time the weight of cohesion policy tools should be reserved, too – focusing on education, reskilling and training. He also announced that Hungary had decided to join to the Euro HPC Joint Undertaking.