The Banking Union and the „War of Independence” Against International Financial Investors: The Case of Hungary (2010-2014)

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
TW2.3.02 (Tower Two)
Sebok Miklos, Research fellow, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
The paper presents a curious case of business-government relations: the financial policy reforms of the Hungarian government between 2010 and 2014. Vested with a supermajority in the legislature, the centre-right Fidesz party initiated a complete overhaul of financial sector regulation in Hungary. Major steps included a new financial special tax, several „rescue packages” for mortgage loan holders and a comprehensive programme of public utility price cuts. The thrust of these interventions had been aimed at the dominantly foreign-owned banking sector, which eventually footed the bill in almost all instances. The paper sheds light on the motives of the government, as well as the primary employer organization involved, the Hungarian Banking Union. The analysis is supported by process-tracing, computer assisted analysis of qualitative data and elite interviews.