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Hungary has moved up five places to rank 42nd in the report published by the Swiss IMD World Competitiveness Center, Finance Minister Mihály Varga said on Thursday.

Hungary showed the third largest improvement according to the center’s 2021 yearbook which listed 63 countries, Varga told an online press conference.

Varga said government measures aimed to balance the fallout of the epidemic as well as to help the economy “come out on top” after the crisis, were at the root of the progress.

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The Hungarian government handled the crisis by tax cuts, investment support and job protection through steps such as a loan moratorium and wage support, Varga said. The IMD results show the effectiveness of those measures, as Hungary’s improvement was largest in the competitiveness of the tax system, in the job market and international investments, he said.

Hungary has jumped to 8th place in economic performance, its best ranking since the IMD report was launched 25 years ago, Varga said. Within that factor, Hungary’s performance in the employment and taxation subsections was the best ever recorded, he added.

In international investments, Hungary has improved 30 places, Varga said, thanks to the government policy prioritising investment support, Varga said. Some 4,000 billlion forints of last year’s budget went towards that goal, he said. The National Investment Agency has supported 907 projects in 2020, resulting in investments worth 4,078 billion euros, he added.

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Hungary will continue the work as “the 42nd place is far from what the country deserves”, Varga said.

IMD put “looming inflation”, “pressures on public finance due to COVID-19 and the election year of 2022” and “COVID-19 related socio-economic disruptions” among the challenges Hungary faces in 2021.

Featured photo illustration by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI