The conference under the title “Applying Social Considerations in Hungarian Public Procurement” – partly hosted by HÉTFA – took place on 16 October 2019, in the Great Hall of the Ministry of Interior in Budapest. It was the closing event of the EU-funded project named “Buying for Social Impact” (BSI) that targeted 15 European countries. The focus was on strengthening social aspects in conduct of public procurement.

Mr Csaba Rigó, president of The Public Procurement Authority and Mr Miklós Dukai, Deputy State Secretary from the Ministry of Interior addressed the participants. Afterwards, Ms Estelle Bacconnier, expert of the European Commission and Ms Patrizia Bussie, representative of ENSIE – European Network of Social Enterprises talked about the importance of socially responsible public procurement. This section was moderated by Mr András Csite, Executive Director of HETFA, who briefly introduced the objectives of the BSI project and the aims of the conference.

The first professional panel of the conference focused on regulatory aspects. Dr. Diána Kretter, Vice State of Secretary responsible for public procurement of the Ministry of Prime Minister’s Office presented the current national regulatory framework.

Ms Andrea Gyulai-Schmidt, associate professor at the Faculty of Law Catholic University of Pázmány Péter talked about the “Key messages from European case law supporting social considerations in public procurement”. Mr László Kovács, Secretary General of the Public Procurement Authority of Hungary, emphasized the role of data collection and information retrieval in promoting social aspects in public procurement. The section was moderated by dr. Tünde Tátrai, Hungarian legal expert on the BSI project, and Associate Professor of the Faculty of Economics, at the Corvinus University of Budapest.

In the afternoon, presentations continued in two professional panels. The first panel dealt with the subject of reserved contracts. First, Ms Patrizia Bussi introduced a Spanish good practice on Article 20. Then the presentation of Ms Ágnes Hubai, President of the Association of Public Procurement Experts focused on whether maintaining social service contracts can help the development of the third sector. This section was moderated by dr. Tünde Tátrai.

The second professional panel addressed some practical issues from the viewpoint of the contracting authority and potential bidders. First, Ms Dalma Kittka , member of the Municipality of Budapest held a presentation on the experiences of the Municipality in the field of socially responsible public procurement. After that, Ms Péterné Zalabai, Representative of Motivation Foundation, universal design expert talked about using universal design criteria in public procurement. Finally, Ms Andrea Szabadkai, President of the Kislépték Association talked about the opportunities of small producers and small social enterprises. the section was moderated by Ms Luca Koltai, Head of Division for Public Policy and Impact Assessment (HÉTFA) and BSI social economy expert of Hungary.

At the end of the conference, dr. Tünde Tátrai summarized the main experiences of the event. She emphasized that Hungary is on the right track to integrate social and environmental aspects into public procurement. The approach is taking root and the interest is growing. At the same time, the lack of practice is an existing problem and there is still much work to be done.