Editorial: Raising a Glass to the Year Ahead

Analysis

Photo by Photo Kozyr / Shutterstock.com

This being our first issue of 2022, it is only fitting that we have dedicated this publication to looking forward to the year ahead. In the real estate market, for example, we discover that office, especially (despite the dire predictions that came with the first lockdown and the adoptions of working from home), but also the industrial and logistics sectors are well placed and expected to be winners in 2022.

The hotel sector can also look ahead to better times, albeit within a longer timeframe, once tourism and business travel really ramp up again. However, question marks remain for retail, given the constant rise of e-commerce.

As has become traditional, Kester Eddy casts his net far and wide to find a variety of voices who share with us their wishes for the new year. You’ll find everything from an understandable desire for some resolution to Russian-Ukrainian tensions to a call for greater support for Hungary’s underground musicians.

One thing no one needs a crystal ball to see is the upcoming general elections on April 3. Arguably for the first time since the 2006 election (when the Socialists, then led by Ferenc Gyurcsány, defeated Fidesz under Viktor Orbán), this is the first election in more than a decade to offer a hint of jeopardy, with an alliance of opposition parties backing one common candidate for prime minister.

This is the playbook that unexpectedly won the Hódmezővásárhely mayoral election in 2018, taking what had been a safe Fidesz seat. And the man who won that seat is the man who will now joust with Orbán and Fidesz for the PM’s position: Péter Márki-Zay.

Of course, there are many questions to be answered. Can a man, untested in national politics and with a coalition behind him that is so disparate it must be hard to keep together, really topple such a wily political operator as Viktor Orbán? Time will tell, but oddly, it might not make much difference to policy. Márki-Zay is no left-wing radical firebrand but a former Fidesz supporter who naturally sits in the center-right ground. Businesses might get the continuity they crave, whoever the Hungarian public elects.

Another thing that requires no crystal ball is the fact that this is a subject we will return to this spring. For all that we “don’t do politics,” it is the national government that sets the economic framework within which we all work, and general elections are, therefore, a topic we can never ignore.

Elsewhere, David Holzer casts a slightly sardonic eye over the relatively new trend of “Dry January.” That is juxtaposed against our regular wine column, where Robert Smyth reports the sad news of the passing of two influential players in the world of Hungarian viticulture. For those of you not abstaining this month, he even has a suggestion for a suitable vintage with which to raise a glass in a toast. Gone, but not forgotten, as the saying goes.

Happy New Year!

Robin Marshall

Editor-in-chief

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of January 14, 2022.

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