So, what did you wish for in 2018?
It being that time of year, when resolutions are made and almost as quickly broken, we thought we would ask a few people what their hopes were for the year ahead. You will find that story on pages 18-19, just after our round up of what some of the leading business analysts expect from the year.
The results included some familiar requests, not least the need, still, for a convention center worthy of the name, and capable of holding up to 5,000 people. Those in the hospitality sector have been asking for that since I first arrived in Hungary a couple of decades ago!
There were concerns expressed about finding staff, which may not have been a problem for quite as long, but has certainly been a recurring theme over the past couple of years. One possible partial solution to that is explored separately on page ten, where we look at what might happen with the ever-growing public-sector workforce, and more particularly those on public work schemes.
A call for world peace wasn’t exactly articulated word-for-word, but a desire that Christians behave like Christians (and not just speak like them) did get an airing, along with a wish that everyone just relax a little. Keep calm and carry on was also the theme, if not the actual motto, of a security expert who wanted businesses to finally take cyber security seriously and plan ahead, rather than running around like headless chickens when problems do arise.
For once, no one we spoke to asked the government to ease off the pace of legislative change. This may reflect the fact that, approaching the end of its second consecutive term, the ruling parties’ breakneck speed of change has abated. It might also reflect the fact that, with the general election due this spring, no one expects much to happen between now and then beyond endless politicking.
Given that, it is perhaps ironic that we do carry a story elsewhere in the paper (on page 14, to be precise), where there actually is a call for more legislation. Ford has been celebrating another good year in 2017, and auto sales in general inching back toward their pre-crisis levels, if not there yet. But the company says new car sales would be even better (for all players in the market, and by extension all of us in terms of cleaner air), if Hungary actually did something about importing older used cars (150,000 were brought in to the country in 2017 alone). Hungary is one of just seven EU states that puts no tax on CO2 emissions. Incidentally, Ford says it is also worried about finding enough car mechanics, and is working with six schools to restore the good reputation of that profession, and thus make it more attractive to school leavers.
Other wishes included more ethical communications (I make no comment), and education that is fit for purpose (another recurring theme). Perhaps the oddest wish was for decent breakfast venues that are open early enough to allow for a good meal at an appropriate hour. Now, there’s a wish we can all hope gets granted!
Happy New Year, everyone; may it be peaceful, and prosperous.