No. 54, László Csaba, András Köves, Gábor Oblath, Iván Schweitzer, László Szamuely (1998): Summary report of a Kopint-Datorg project: maturity and tasks of Hungarian industry in the context of accession to the EU

The objective of the project launched by IKIM, the Hungarian Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, in spring 1997 was to gather together a think tank of experts of industrial companies, professional associations and interest representation organisations, economics researchers and prominent representatives of the professions concerned in 16 industrial-branch-specific sections covering 66 special industrial branches to audit their respective professional areas, through collective thinking/brainstorming and debates, from the point of view of the requirements and tasks of, and recommended preparatory industrial policy for, EU accession. The underlying idea was to create a long-missed forum for actors of the real sphere of the economy to communicate their problems, proposals and opinions to decision-makers in an organised way. Accordingly, the main goal was to bring professional interests to the surface, to identify crucial problems and have “lobby documents” (in the positive sense of the word) be made. It was hoped that, despite the time limits and the “forced march” aspect of the process implied by the fast-approaching initial date of the negotiations, there would be sufficient time for a dialogue to evolve and consensus be reached on central issues, in which case the project could provide the negotiating delegation upto-date real-life argumentative material.Since the short deadline on work of merit made it impossible to establish comprehensive, iterative contacts among the 14 horizontal and 66 sectoral work groups including a total of more than 200 experts, however expedient that would have been otherwise, the following methodology was used. KOPINT-DATORG compiled a horizontally re-edited thematic volume for each study topic on the basis of the relevant sector papers, and put these at the new work groups’ disposal, distributing them, simultaneously, to IKIM staff and to the Heads of Phase I Sections. Section heads wer asked to assess industrial tasks in the context of their complex interrelationships with related areas, but were instructed to rely first and foremost on the sector papers, to express and interpret specific, special-branch-level pieces of information and establish co-operation in problem areas with producer organisations and with the sections concerned. Dialogue between the 14 horizontal work-groups was occasional in this work phase. The main task was to establish some form of communication between the vertical and horizontal work groups (the result, however, was of appropriate quality in a few cases only). A feedback phase was included: section heads/theme leaders in control of work in the two phases, together with the competent IKIM staff and the heads of the EITB work groups concerned met to exchange opinions. On that occasion, representatives of the real sphere approved the bulk of the professional material prepared in Phase II and indicated that they wanted to be kept posted on fresh developments at the accession negotiations.

Project leader:
László Csaba
András Köves, Gábor Oblath, Iván Schweitzer, László Szamuely