Magyar Nemzeti Bank, the central bank of Hungary, has organised a high-level conference on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Visegrad Cooperation 15th July 2021. Among the speakers of the conference, titled „Gradual Transition into a Greener Economy – Challenges and opportunities – we welcomed the central bank governors and deputy governors of the V4 countries along with leading financial and economic experts from the region. Due to the uncertainties caused by the pandemic the conference was organised virtually. The opening speech of the event was delivered by Mr. György Matolcsy, Governor of MNB, who highlighted the milestones of the V4 cooperation. During the high-level opening session, Mr. Peter Kažimír, Governor of the Slovakian National Bank (Národná banka Slovenska), Mr. Jiří Rusnok, Governor of the Czech National Bank (Česká národní banka) and Ms. Marta Kightley, Vice President of the Polish National Bank (Narodowy Bank Polski) also delivered a keynote speech. The key topics of the event were the increasing importance of sustainable economic policymaking and the green transition.

The conference was organized to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Visegrad Declaration, which raised the regional cooperation - with historical roots stretching back to centuries - to a new level in 1991. In the past 30 years the V4 countries have continuously broadened the scope of their cooperation including the partnership of central banks. Accordingly, the MNB is also committed to supporting the regional cooperation and strengthening the ties between the V4 countries. Honouring the 30th anniversary of the formation of the Visegrad Group, the MNB created a unique commemorative medal which presents the emblematic Visegrad Citadel in addition to the geographical display of the V4 member countries.

The Visegrad Group Central Bank Governors Conference was given the title „Gradual Transition into a Greener Economy – Challenges and opportunities” with the purpose of highlighting one of the most topical questions of our age, the need for enhancing sustainable economic policymaking. In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, promoting the green transition is among the priorities of the financial sector and central banks as well.

The event commenced by the opening speech of Mr. György Matolcsy, Governor of MNB, who offered a quick recap of the last decades’ economic history to appreciate the success story of the V4 on their road to market economy, during which Hungary managed to capitalize on its domestic resources, like its human capital development through education. The Governor believes that the V4 is on the right track to achieve historical success, but there is a task to fulfil, namely the gradual transition to green economy, which is a must.

After Governor Matolcsy’s inspirational introductory speech, Peter Kažimír, Governor of Národná banka Slovenska, drew the attention to the need of a "sustainable revolution" through appropriate climate mitigation and adaptation policies, where central banks can also provide support by helping to understand the complexity of the issues and estimate the possible impacts. Jiří Rusnok, Governor of Česká národní banka emphasised the need for smart action, which also supports the health of the macroeconomic balance. Marta Kightley, Vice President and First Deputy President of Narodowy Bank Polski, stressed that central banks usually cannot take the lead in climate policy, but they cannot ignore it either.

The programme featured two panel discussions, during which the participants discussed the key aspects of sustainability, the role of central banks in the fight against climate change and the green renewal in the post-pandemic era. High-level decision makers of the V4 central banks took part in the first panel discussion, titled “Role of the central banks in combating climate change”. They agreed that central banks have to embrace the green agenda in a certain degree, but the level of their involvement is subject to further discussion. The second panel – titled “Green renewal after COVID-19” – brought to the virtual stage leading financial experts from the region. The discussants stressed that the crisis created an opportunity for promoting a green and digital agenda, concerning which the international framework is the most effective way to deal with the challenges.

The event was closed by Dr. Mihály Patai, Deputy Governor of MNB, who praised the stimulating debate and the different ideas of the participants. He briefly summarized the evolution of the green agenda in the past decades and emphasized that its importance is expected to further increase in the years ahead.

The conference can be watched under the following link: