“To be honest, I think the government handled the crisis as well as possible," says Levente Csengery, Partner at KCG Partners. “The COVID-19 regulations do exactly what they’re supposed to – protect public health and keep us all alive, and they’re working.“ At the time of writing, Hungary has had 3535 confirmed cases (and 460 deaths) from the new coronavirus.
Still, tackling the public health elements of the crisis is only part of the overall response. “The economic blowback has been significant and we’re all feeling it,“ Csengery says. “There have been layoffs left and right – both individual and collective dismissals.“ Csengery specializes in Employment law, and he is directly involved, he says, with “many such cases, so I’m pretty aware of them and the impact they have on people’s lives. However, I feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I think that this can be an opportunity for many businesses to transform their operating models to suit the new normal – this would, eventually, lead to an uptick in employment as well.“
As for new legislation designed to tackle the crisis, Csengery reports that “many of the laws are a bit unclear as to what they seek to achieve – which leads to us, as lawyers, being forced to interpret them in a restrictive, conservative, manner.“ He feels that this may prevent these legislative measures from achieving their full potential. “This was to be expected – the sole focus of our legislative bodies was the crisis and pumping out laws as quickly as possible to deal with it. What we’re in right now is a constant feedback loop to the government and they’re working tirelessly to improve these and concretize them so that businesses can have more predictability in their operations.“
Ultimately, Csengery says that he remains optimistic that the crisis can end by 2020. “Hungary's numbers are looking good and we’re doing all we can to keep the curve flat,“ he says. “People are switching to remote working in many sectors of the economy and it should start improving in the coming months as well.“ He says that business models of many businesses "are undergoing transformation and fine-tuning, and I think that this can only benefit the economy.“