The ever-growing financial divide in Hungary
According to portfolio.hu, the most commonly used indicator of welfare, GDP, is 4.7 times greater in Budapest than in Nógrád County, and 3.6 times greater than in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County – just to give two outstanding examples. It seems like the financial divide in Hungary is far from decreasing.
The abovementioned data was presented by Barnabás Virág, the managing director of the National Bank of Hungary. He added that the prominent regional difference in development has not been improved by the EU funding since investments mostly happen in regions that already have a high level of development.
These regional differences must be taken into account when planning the development policy of the upcoming period, so that competitiveness can be increased in the whole country.
The rate of GDP/person was 136% of the EU average in Budapest (in 2016), while it was only 29% in the northern Nógrád County. The second worth rate, 38%, belongs to the eastern Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County.
The difference is even greater between Budapest and Pest County (70%). This demonstrates why it is worth separating the two regions administration-wise. This way, the rest of the county could receive more of the EU funding.
The difference between Győr-Moson-Sopron County (92%) in the northwest and the southern counties (40-50%) is also significant.
Besides the apparent financial and economic divide, another thought-provoking data concerns the rate of investment capacity per person between 2013 and 2016. It was much stronger in the developed counties (e.g. 173% of the Hungarian average in Győr-Moson-Sopron), which deepens the divide.
However, there is a promising tendency as well: more and more of the EU funding and the NBH’s special credit scheme has been directed towards less-developed regions since 2016.