Progressive Economy held a conference in Budapest on 4 October 2013 on the state of the economies in the Central and Eastern European member states, followed by a total of over 1.200 people in the audience and through live webstreaming. The objective of this event was to shed more light on the economic and social situations of CEE member states during this crisis, and to identify progressive policy solutions to further their economic and social development.
A special study prepared by the well-known Hungarian economic institute GKI had been commissioned for this conference and was presented to participants; it offers 21 recommendations for policy makers and is available here. An in-depth debate took place on the issue of euro-zone membership of CEE member states, which the study strongly recommended, even with the possibility of speeding up integration processes. The proposal for the partial integration of EU pension systems also created a lively debate concerning the modalities and timeline. All interlocutors agreed with the report's call for a social union and with the need to go beyond economic coordination. Questions from the audience focused on the need to go beyond GDP in measuring the success of the economy as well as a need to look at possible reforms of local and regional administrations to support growth strategies.
Speakers included S&D president Hannes Swoboda and Attila Mesterhazy, president of the Hungarian Socialist Party, Laszlo Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, as well as Gordon Bajnai, leader of the party Egyutt/ Together 2014 and former Prime Minister of Hungary.