By the 21st century, it has become obvious that a new world order is in the making. It is characterised by the simultaneous appearance of multilateral cooperation, integration and competition – much of them now taking place in the digital space. The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout have been a source of further turbulence in this increasingly complex word. The epicentre of the ongoing transformation is undoubtedly Eurasia, the fusion of diverse cultures, mindsets and policies. New power hubs in the supercontinent are emerging, underlining the importance of multilateral arrangements and thinking.
Recognizing these changes and the magnitude of their impact on the economy, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB), the central bank of Hungary decided to join the global dialogue about the new era and intensify its activities to foster Eurasian cooperation. To that end, a new annual conference, the Budapest Eurasia Forum was launched in 2019. The first event of the series, the Pre-Forum Session was held in October 2019 in the Castle District of Budapest, while the second and third Forums took place as E-Conferences in the autumn of 2020 and 2021, due to the unprecedented circumstances created by the pandemic. Currently, the world is trying to adapt to the “new normal” of the post-COVID era, so the Budapest Eurasia Forum also plans to bring back at least some personal interactions and create a hybrid event, to the extent possible.
The main purpose of our fully-fledged multidisciplinary agenda is to focus on sustainable development covering various aspects of geopolitics and economic policies of our time. The key objective is to establish an international platform where representatives of different segments of the economy and society have the opportunity to share their experiences and exchange views. The topics go beyond central banking, and include finance, economy, geopolitics, infrastructure, technology, connectivity, education and culture. We namely believe that achieving sustainable growth requires interdisciplinary and multilateral dialogue.
With hindsight, it is apparent that the evolution of economics has always been strongly linked to other disciplines. The extraordinary challenges since the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the euro crisis and most recently, the COVID-19 turmoil have necessitated the renewal of economic thinking: the key concept is no longer growth in itself, but sustainability as well. That is, sustainability in terms of the environment, society and international relations. This mindset includes many new aspects of our age, such as the rapid development of cutting-edge technologies, the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution and the omnipresence of technology in all aspects of our lives (even in healthcare and the human body itself, as well as education and social interactions).
The Budapest Eurasia Forum builds on the recognition that all of these phenomena can be traced back to four megatrends: the increasing role of geopolitics, technological revolution, green transition and the transformation of money and the financial system. Our objective is to incorporate these aspects into economic thinking.
Located in the heart of Europe, Hungary and its capital, Budapest are well-positioned to serve as an intellectual hub for experts from various countries and promote cooperation between Europe and Asia. We believe that achieving long-term sustainability requires joint efforts and coordinated cross-border policies. Thus, the Forum intends to bring together leaders and experts from various countries, enhancing people-to-people dialogue.
The primary objective of the Forum is to benefit all participants by engaging in thought-provoking discussions and building personal relations, but also serves an even greater purpose: facilitating the achievement of our common goal to boost growth and well-being in a sustainable manner.
We feel proud and honoured that these efforts are increasingly acknowledged and endorsed by our esteemed partners and the evolving global community of the Forum. As one of our distinguished speakers, Mr. Zhenmin Liu, Under-Secretary-General at the United Nations kindly noted: “We must accelerate the slow-moving transformations towards greater sustainability and equity. This is why the Forum today is so important. I wish you recognize the initiative of the Magyar Nemzeti Bank, the central bank of Hungary in leading this effort”.