Editorial: In Praise of Summer Sundowners


Photo by Sergii Figurnyi /

It’s been a busy few days, what with AmCham and GE Hungary celebrating their joint 35th anniversary (see page 21), the European Parliament and Hungarian municipality elections (page six), and the headlong rush toward the Hungarian presidency of the Council of the European Union, which starts on July 1. And among all that, we held our latest Budapest Business Journal Boardroom Meeting in the morning and BBJ Business Mixer on the evening of the same day (page 22).

For those of you who don’t know, the Boardroom Meeting grew out of our Expat CEO of the Year Gala as a means of keeping in touch with leading members of the business and diplomatic community in Budapest on a more regular basis and providing a value-added platform through which to share knowledge, news and views. A vital part of what makes it work has been our roundtable discussions of current events examined from a commerce point of view.

This time, our guest speakers were the Belgian Ambassador to Hungary Jeroen Vergeylen, making his debut, and Tamás Lőcsei, country managing partner for PwC Hungary. Our discussion was framed by those elections, that Presidency of the Council of the EU, and, of course, the latest macroeconomic outlooks.

Issues covered included how the EP elections might influence power dynamics in Hungary and the EU, whether Péter Magyar and his Tisza party are likely to be a lasting force in Hungarian politics, and some of the fallout from the election, such as French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to call a snap general election, and its potential economic impact.

Other topics included highlights of the Belgian presidency, the likely priorities of the Hungarian presidency, and Belgian-Hungarian relations ahead of the handover. On the Hungarian macroeconomic front, we touched on inflation and GDP growth this year and next, as well as whether growing real wages might benefit or threaten the economy.

It really is a privilege for me to moderate these conversations, picking the brains of some very knowledgeable people, and I learned a lot on Tuesday morning, but my BBJ highlight of the week was undoubtedly our Summer Sundowner at the Marriott’s Liz & Chain rooftop bar. The Business Mixers have been building nicely since we made a more conscious effort, post-COVID, to bring back something that had always been a BBJ hallmark. We are getting to that stage where we are very close to needing to limit numbers. Guests want to return because they know the venues are great, the tombola prizes are enticing, and the mix of people is intriguing. They are, as I like to say at these events, a place to meet old friends, meet new acquaintances, and do some business. I know all three were happening on Tuesday evening, and personally, I can’t wait for the next event. I hope I’ll get to see you there.

Robin Marshall


This editorial was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of June 14, 2024.

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