Hungary has moved up five places in the competitiveness ranking published by the IMD World Competitiveness Center of the Swiss Business School, Finance Minister Mihály Varga said at a Budapest press conference on Thursday.
In the ranking of 63 countries in the 2021 IMD Competitiveness Yearbook of 2021, prepared with the assistance of the ICEG European Center, an independent economic research institute, Hungary ranked 42nd, with the third-largest improvement. The finance minister also stressed that 42nd place is still far from desirable and the work started in the Competitiveness Council should be continued.
According to him, Hungarian economic protection measures not only mitigated the effects of the crisis but also contributed to the Hungarian economy gaining an advantage and increasing its competitiveness. He added that the supportive, stimulating economic policy that has characterized the operation of the Hungarian government so far will continue in the future.
Varga also emphasized that the significant progress was due to the government’s adherence to clear principles on economic protection measures; from the beginning, the goal was for Hungary to not only effectively prevent the economic effects of the epidemic but also get out of the crisis with an advantage over other countries.
Hungary has also improved among the Visegrád countries: It is now in second place, surpassed only by the Czech Republic, while Poland and Slovakia finished lower in the ranking, he said.
The minister explained that the government did not deal with the crisis with tax increases and deductions. On the contrary, significant tax cuts and tax simplifications were implemented, investment support was increased and special attention was paid to the protection of jobs. The survey confirms that these measures were effective: Hungary saw the biggest improvements in terms of a competitive tax system, employment, the labor market and international investment, he said.
Varga highlighted some important findings of the IMD analysis: The country advanced to 8th place in terms of economic performance, which is the best position in 25 years. In 14 of the 20 sub-factors examined, Hungary’s ranking improved, plus it reached its highest position ever in employment and taxation, he said.
Meanwhile, the country’s position in international investment improved by 30 places. The finance minister emphasized that even during the crisis, special attention was paid to encouraging investments, which is well reflected in the fact that more than HUF 4 trillion was spent from the budget last year to support investments. In 2020, the National Investment Agency contributed to the implementation of 907 projects, which resulted in investments of more than HUF 1.4 trillion.
In terms of employment and the labor market, the country was able to improve by seven places. According to the April data, the unemployment rate is 4.4 percent, while the Eurozone average is around 8 percent.
Improving seven places in the government-efficiency factor, the country reached 40th place, which is the most favorable position since 2007, and improved four places in infrastructure, ranking 37th.
The IMD World Competitiveness Center has been publishing its competitiveness ranking in the form of a yearbook since 1989. It builds on 258 indicators and gives a relative ranking of 63 countries.
Title image: Hungarian Finance Minister Mihály Varga. (source: Facebook)