Digitalization and Cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe after COVID-19

Seminar of the series “The Importance of Central Europe for the EU”

From 28th to 29th October 2021, as part of the seminar series “The Importance of Central Europe for the EU” a seminar took place in Visegrád, Hungary organized by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Hungary Office.

The participants and panellists of the international "Visegrad workshop" discussed during these two days the digital transformation and developments caused by the coronavirus pandemic in Central and Eastern Europe with a special focus on digital transformation.

COVID-19 has caused not only an unprecedented crisis worldwide with extremely negative effects on the economy, but it also required sectors like digitalization to adapt and transform according to this totally new situation. The experts discussed the new trends, the challenges and the opportunities associated with this digital revolution, and how the world’s most powerful economies try to cope with the effects of the pandemic. Questions like how the CEE region performed compared to the rest of the European Union, and whether the COVID-19 pandemic made the division between member states bigger, or how big the potential of the CEE economies is in regard of digitalization, or which the leading sectors in these countries are, were discussed.

Michael Winzer, Resident Representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Hungary welcomed the participants coming from five different countries. In the first panel, which was moderated by Holger Haibach, Resident Representative of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Croatia, panellists - László Jobbágy, Managing Director of Digital Success Nonprofit Ltd. (Hungary), Judit Szakos, Institute of Cybersecurity, National University of Public Service (Hungary) and Dimitar Lilkov, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies (Brussels, Belgium) -  were discussing the issue of digitalization as a driving force during the pandemic and they also brought several practical examples from the CEE Region.

At the second panel of the seminar lecturers presented their opinions and answers to the question: How digitalization can help to make the economy fit again. The speakers of this interesting panel were distinguished experts like Dr. Radoslav Danilak, Co-founder and CEO of Tachyum (Slovakia), Saša-Ivan Vrdoljak, Director of Peak Energy Ltd and CEO of Alcina and Prenal Adriatic (Croatia) and Bart Kot from Warsaw Security Forum (Poland).  The discussion was moderated by Robert Cisar from Tachyum.

On the second day of the conference a larger discussion took place about the EU Recovery Plan and the future perspectives of the CEE Region with the participation of Dr. Bence Bauer (Director, German-Hungarian Institute), Dr. Gordan Akrap (President of Hybrid Warfare Research Institute, Croatia) and Christian Mandl (Head of EU Policy Coordination Department, Austrian Federal Economic Chamber) moderated by Dr. Heinrich Kreft, Chair for Diplomacy at Andrássy University Budapest.