The importance of joint lobbying

The importance of joint lobbying

Hungary, along with many other countries in Central Europe, has had high hopes with regards to the functioning of the European markets, and joining the European Union. The same applies in the case of the field of energy. The expectations also had somewhat idealistic elements, such as: achieving levels of infrastructure development typical for Western Europe; reducing the prices of the energy market – based on ‘the market solves everything’ approach; and with the help of competitiveness, within a lifetime, the quality of living for Central European people would catch up and match the levels seen in the developed countries of the EU. These expectations were far too idealistic, with most people believing that all the good shall just ’fall into their laps’ without ever having to do anything for it, or very little, as they expected the EU to come to their aid. After the change of the Hungarian political regime, the economic realities bit deeply, providing a couple of unexpected and bitter experiences for the Hungarian energy market and national consumers. As a result of the privatisation process, whole industries disappeared in the 90’s, only to re-emerge in new European guises, with their products being sold at much higher prices. In the meantime, unemployment rates increased, slowly (and in some places, not so slowly) impoverishment spread, and inflation was hard to contain. Electricity companies also fell prey to privatisation, as the vulnerable state guaranteed extra profits for the owners of these companies, which not only did not cause a drop in prices, but further increased the costs for end-consumers. This was the situation at the end of [...]