In 2016 the central bank established a separate unit to support the so-called Eastern Opening Policy launched by the Hungarian Government, to broaden the international network of the institution and strengthen its Asian relations. Besides the intensification of traditional central banking cooperation, the development of educational and scientific relations and personal connections receive special attention within this broadened framework. The enhanced cooperation with Asian partners appears not only on the bilateral level, but on multilateral platforms as well. The central bank has been intensifying its activities in various groupings, such as the partnership between China and CEE region, or the so-called 16+1 (by today 17+1) cooperation and the Central Banks Governors' Club of the Central Asia, Black Sea Region and Balkan Countries.

The development of bilateral relations – besides the aim of strengthened professional cooperation – reflects on key diplomatic events too. In 2019 the MNB, together with the Bank of Korea, the central bank of the Republic of Korea has organised a joint conference on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In addition to the direct interactions MNB is actively monitoring the political and economic developments of the countries of Asia and channels its findings to the analysis of identifying possible areas of cooperation and experience-sharing.

Given the increasing importance of Asia in the international sphere, and the dynamic development of the Europe-Asia cooperation the MNB seeks to actively participate in the international dialogue focusing on transcontinental cooperation. An outstanding example of this strategy is the concept of the Budapest Eurasia Forum, a high-level conference dedicated to professional discussions, organised annually by MNB. The goal of the event series is to provide a deep, yet comprehensive analysis of the most topical issues of the Eurasian cooperation, by bringing together distinguished experts and policy makers from abroad and Hungary as well.

The Forum pays special attention to diversity, which is echoed in the background of speakers and the discussed topics as well. The agenda focuses on current matters from the economic and financial spheres, but also includes pressing and timely matters such as technology, innovation, education and geopolitics – as these areas have gained significant importance in the transcontinental cooperation. As the first event of the conference-series the MNB has hosted the Pre-Forum Session of the Budapest Eurasia Forum in 2019. The event took place in the Castle District of the capital and received great feedback from the speakers and the audience alike.

Chinese relations

In recent years, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank has opened towards the Chinese market through a structured approach, thus now it has extensive relationships and results. In 2013, the MNB was the first in the Continental Europe to conclude a bilateral currency swap framework agreement with the People’s Bank of China, the Chinese central bank, to support trade and investment relations. The agreement was renewed in 2016, then it was extended for another 3 years with an increased principal amount in 2019. Foreign exchange swap agreements are now part of the central bank toolkits, as a means of ensuring stability of financial and real economy markets.

In 2015, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank announced a comprehensive Renminbi Programme with the aim of facilitating the establishment of new Chinese-Hungarian relations and the development and deepening of existing relations with the means at its disposal. The programme includes objectives such as the construction of the renminbi foreign exchange reserve portfolio, the provision of a central bank renminbi liquidity facility in case of market disturbances, the development of the renminbi clearing and settlement infrastructure, the enforcement of financial stability and regulatory aspects, as well as research and academic cooperation.

The first 16+1 Central Bank Governors’ Meeting was held in Budapest on 9–10 November 2018 with the participation of China and Central and Eastern European Countries. The Magyar Nemzeti Bank organized the summit together with the Chinese central bank, and the event was hosted by the House of Wisdom (Bölcs Vár) cultural and training centre in the Buda Castle. The significance of the event is shown by the fact that never before were so many central bank governors and delegations consulting with each other in Hungary. The event was a very important milestone in the relationship between the central banks of China and those of the CEE countries.

In the field of scientific and educational cooperation, the MNB actively cooperates with a number of Chinese institutions, and regularly presents the Hungarian central bank model in China, accepting several invitations each year. The MNB also maintains close and productive relationships with two Chinese universities (Tsinghua and Fudan) aimed, inter alia, at establishing a joint research network, creating student and professor exchange programmes, and launching specific financial and business programmes. In 2018 the Fudan University and the Corvinus University of Budapest have agreed to launch a joint MBA program with the professional support of MNB, and the first semester of the program begun in 2019. The graduates of the program receive a double degree, which is the first of its kind in the CEE region. In addition to the lectures of outstanding professors from Fudan and CUB, the program participants have guest lecturers from MNB, who provide practical and deep insights on economic issues. For many years, the MNB has been attending the most important international event of Fudan, the Shanghai Forum, which is focusing on the development of Asia. MNB has also been involved in co-organizing international panel discussions and was honoured to host the Shanghai Forum Pre-Session twice in the recent years.

Regarding the development of the MNB’s Chinese relations, another highlighted event was the Hungarian presentation of the book “The Governance of China” written by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, for which the MNB Headquarter provided the venue on 24 April 2017.

On 28 November 2017, the headquarters of the Magyar Nemzeti Bank, in cooperation with the Hungarian Banking Association and the Asian Financial Cooperation Association (AFCA), served as the venue for the AFCA CEE Financial Summit Forum. The topic of the summit was: “New Chapter of Asia-Europe Financial Cooperation”. The conference focused primarily on the creation of a collaborative platform where financial managers and participants in the financial sector are given the opportunity and support to build a better and more efficient, less risky financial world in the future. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also spoke at the opening of the event.

In 2019 the central bank commemorated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Hungary and China on multiple occasions. The MNB and the municipality of Shanghai, with the support of Fudan University organised a professional forum titled “The 70th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations Between Hungary and China”. The ceremonial opening brought together several high-ranking officials from China and Hungary as well who delivered their remarks and welcomed the audience: Mr. Zhu Yonglei, deputy secretary-General of CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee and deputy director of the Publicity Department of CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee, Mr. Levente Magyar, deputy-minister of foreign affairs and trade of Hungary, Mr. Duan Jielong, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Hungary and Mr. Chen Zhimin vice president of Fudan University also held a speech during the opening. The ceremony was followed by Hungarian-Chinese Economic Forum, including a panel discussion titled “Opportunities, challenges and mutual benefits”, and a PhD Forum, focusing on historical and future aspects of Sino-Hungarian relations.

For the sake of the of a successful celebration of the anniversary a photo exhibition was organised in the House of Wisdom. The exhibition, consisting of 100 pictures presented some of the most memorable moments of the past 70 years of diplomatic relations between Hungary and China. The ceremonial opening of the exhibition took place 11 July 2019 with the participation of Mr. György Matolcsy, governor of MNB and Mr. László Palkovics minister of innovation and technology. The event was particularly important, as Mr. Wang Yi state councillor and minister of foreign affairs of China also honoured the event with his presence.

In the spirit of the Eastern opening, the MNB maintains excellent relations with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). The results of the collaboration materialize in high-level meetings, joint publications, lectures and conferences. In April 2017, the CASS opened its unique Research Centre (China-CEE Institute) in Budapest to support Sino-European knowledge-sharing.