The first panel of FMRS Budapest posed a very interesting discussion. When asked about the economic growth over the last decade, Dr. Geza Sebestyen attributed the growth to high growth rates in the V4 region, which were on average 2-3% higher than the average growth rate for the EU. He also attributes this growth rate to the increase in employment. The growth in employment caused a growth in wages. This in turn gives consumers more money to spend and increases the economic growth rate for the region. Szabolcs Pasztor explains that “The V4 region countries are the growth engines of the European Union.” Pasztor contributes the growth to the increase in FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), and the increase in export to GDP ratio of the V4 region. György Kerekes also agrees with Pasztor’s analysis of the importance of FDI and export ration increases. Kerekes adds that it is the critical infrastructure, as seen in the network of businesses and supply chains, that has contributed to this phenomenal growth.
The second panel focused on the energy crisis before and after the sanctions posed on Russia. The panelists agree on two major points. The first being that the energy crisis began before the Russia-Ukraine war. The second being that the sanctions made the crisis worse, rather than started it. They cite many different reasons for changes in the energy situations, however a major point that continues to be discussed in the United States as a global powerhouse both economically, and in the military. With that, the politics of energy in the USA consistently changed based of the majority in the Senate and House of Representatives, along with a new democratic president. America’s global power has a reach on the energy in the EU through its own policies, imports, and exports.
The next panel looks at inflation and economic growth post Covid-19 and Russia-Ukraine war. It contrasts the topic of the first panel by warning us of future problems. They cite many visual graphics and conclude that government spending is causing a burden on the economy. In some countries, spending accounts for 50% of economic output. Furthermore, the lack of younger taxpayers in the future will limit additional revenues for the government, providing an even more dire imbalance. They conclude that a balanced population paired with reasonable government spending is necessary for the future.
Panel 4 explores the China-EU relationship. Li Schoolland explains a recent article published by the European Commission and how China is a systemic rival of the EU’s economy rather than an equal partner. It calls for a more independent track that allows the EU to remain a competitor to the Chinese market. Current demands from China are unbalanced and favor the Chinese. Despite this, most Chinese citizens still live in poverty. The government tends to hide that many people live under $1 USD daily. The panelist explained how a new Europe can no longer depend on its past methods and agreements to grow its political and economic prowess.
The final panel is more philosophical and finds issues within Science and Scientism. A particularly interesting point from Dr. Calum T.M Nicholson is that “We call people experts if they know a lot about a little, but the problem is people who seek to know a little about a lot are not nearly as valued in contemporary Western culture.” He points out that a narrow expertise tends to overshadow a broader knowledge, when a broader knowledge may have better connections to the world as a whole.
Panel 1: V4: New Economic heart of Europe?
- László György, Secretary of State for Economic Strategy and Regulation, Hungary
- Szabolcs Pásztor, leading researcher at Oeconomus and Associate Professor at the National University of Public Service
- Géza Sebestyén, head of Economic Policy Department at Mathias Corvinus Collegium and Associate Professor at Corvinus University.
- Anton Bendarzsevszkij, Danube Institute
Introduction to the second panel
- István Kiss, Danube Institute
Panel 2: Europe’s Energy Crisis: The Crisis was Here Before the Sanctions
- Alex Cranberg, Chairman of Aspect Holdings, LLC
- Janos Csák, former Director of MOL
- Werner J. Patzelt, MCC, expert on German politics/political structures
- Alexandr Vondra, MEP, ENVI Committee
- John O’Sullivan, Danube Institute
Panel 3: From globally synchronized growth to globally synced inflation or deflation?
- Craig Biddle, The Objective Standard
- John Fund, National Affairs and Fox News
- Alberto Mingardi, Istituto Bruno Leoni
- Dan Mitchell, Center for Freedom and Prosperity
- John Prout, Danube Institute
Introduction to the fourth panel
- Ákos Bence Gát, Danube Institute
Panel 4: What will be China’s role in the post-war/post-Covid world and how will it impact the EU’s place in the world politically and economically?
- Adam Kerenyi, Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre of Excellence
- Li Schoolland, Acton Institute
- Gergely Salát, Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hungary
Introduction to the keynote
- David Nagy, Danube Institute
Keynote: The Problem With Experts: Science and scientism in the ‘post-truth’ age
- Calum T M Nicholson, Visiting Fellow of the Danube Institute