This year, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank organised the second Budapest Eurasia Forum, which was a great success. Taking account of the extraordinary situation in 2020, the event was held as an e-conference. In his opening speech, György Matolcsy, the Governor of the MNB, highlighted that the purpose of this series of conferences was to facilitate the comprehension of the Eurasian era that we face while keeping up with the current geopolitical transformation. At the opening event, the speakers included Zhou Xiaochuan, Vice Chairman, Boao Forum for Asia, former Governor, People’s Bank of China, Péter Szijjártó, Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wu Hongbo, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on European Affairs, former Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. In the professional programme, high-level decision-makers and experts gave speeches from China, Singapore, South-Korea, several countries in Europe etc.

On 27 October 2020, the second Budapest Eurasia Forum took place, which aimed to enhance cooperation across continents and to foster professional discussions in order to ensure long-term sustainable growth. The Forum was held digitally in the face of coronavirus. The Shanghai Forum, the Fudan Development Institute, the Singapore Fintech Festival and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, headquartered in Austria, were the partners of the event.

The world’s leading decision-makers and experts were invited to discuss three topics at the conference entitled ‘Eurasian Cooperation in the Post-Pandemic Era', which was the next event in a series of events named Budapest Eurasia Forum launched by the Magyar Nemzeti Bank in 2019. The high-level and renowned speakers shared their thoughts with each other and the audience on the Eurasian cooperation and the issues related to long-term sustainable growth in the post-COVID-19 world order. Consistent with the main paths established in 2019, the Forum’s professional programme covered such key topics as geopolitics and multilateral cooperation, economic and financial matters, and technology, connectivity and education.

The event was opened by György Matolcsy, the Governor of the MNB. Being the first to deliver his speech, he underlined that it was the attendees’ common goal at this virtual event to let the conference facilitate the comprehension of the Eurasian era that we face while keeping up with the current geopolitical transformation. György Matolcsy stressed that a basic element in the conception of this series of events was the need to create long-term sustainability. To achieve this, the conference offered an effective and competitive dialogue, which was a major factor in all reviewed topics.

György Matolcsy’s thought-provoking welcome speech was followed by a presentation given by Zhou Xiaochuan, the Vice Chairman of Boao Forum for Asia, Asia’s key political and economic conference, the former and longest serving Governor of the People’s Bank of China, who spoke about the monetary policy aspects of the technological revolution that gained new momentum due to COVID-19 and the opportunities for digital central bank money.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, also delivered a speech at the opening event and pointed out that Hungary was making efforts to improve its competitiveness in the post-pandemic world despite the emerging challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Minister emphasised that the developments in the past 10 years demonstrated the success of the Eastward Opening Policy and the importance of a foreign affairs strategy supported by the equilibrium between the East and the West.

The last of the opening speeches was given by Wu Hongbo, the Chinese Government’s Special Representative on European Affairs, the former Under-Secretary-General in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, who stressed that the COVID-19 showed again that similarly to other crises, the global pandemic could be defeated by forming cooperation. He pinpointed openness, good governance and closer cooperation as the preconditions for achieving success in the future. He added that economic challenges could be overcome by applying innovative, coordinated and green solutions. The Eurasian cooperation might have a key role in their creation.

The high-level opening speeches were followed by 3 professional panels. Here, the discussions were centred around, inter alia, the manner the COVID-19 shaped the geopolitical scene and multilateral international cooperation, the challenges with regards to sustainable long-term economic growth and how it affected life in cities and the development of smart cities.

Speakers at the Budapest Eurasia Forum 2020 included Kyuil Chung, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Korea, Pierre Heilbronn, the Vice President of the EBRD, Sopnendu Mohanty, the CFO of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Changchun Mu, Director of the Institute of Digital Currency at the People's Bank of China, Eng Chia Tan, the appointed President of the National University of Singapore, Li Jin and Zhimin Chen, the Vice Presidents of Fudan University in Shanghai, Bruno Lanvin, the President of the Smart City Observatory and Danae Kyriakopoulou, the Chief Economist of OMFIF.

Speakers agreed that cooperation was essential to handle the current crisis and to ensure sustainable long-term economic growth and the Eurasian region offered considerable potential to become a significant centre of growth and innovation in the multipolar world order of the 21st century.