news letter

Weekly newsletter

Distance Is Not A Block: Strengthening Political And Commercial Ties Between Australia And Hungary

By Robert Velkey // 2017.02.16.

The migration policies of Australia and Hungary are identical, and Hungary, a member of the UN Human Rights Council since the autumn, firmly supports Australia’s bid to join the body, Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s foreign minister, said on Wednesday in Canberra Australia.

Speaking after talks in Canberra, Szijjarto told MTI by phone that “Australia also maintains its right to decide whom to allow into its own territory … and their position is that it should be decided beyond their borders who can enter and receive asylum. We agree that help should be given at the point where it is needed rather than bringing trouble over to where there isn’t any,” he said.


“Australians, involved as they are in war-stricken Iraq and Syria, also have an interest in ensuring that more refugees do not depart from where they are,” he said. Szijjarto cited the fact that Australia has recently strengthened its counter-terrorism law and introduced detention against those seeking asylum as examples of similarities in the countries’ policies.

Speaking about economic and diplomatic ties between the countries, Szijjarto noted that the huge distance notwithstanding, bilateral trade approached 500 million US dollars, with Hungarian exports accounting for 440 million.  With a view to improving the presence of Hungarian companies on the Australian market, Budapest is committed to an agreement in the pipeline between the European Union and Australia on free trade. Hungary wants to embolden the EU to make use of the historic opportunity to create new partnerships in the wake of the recently ditched multilateral free-trade pact between the US and Pacific partners, he said. The government is also encouraging Hungarian companies to invest in Australia with a 742 million dollar credit line.

tn496c0 (1)
Hungary pledged to organise a foreign ministers’ meeting in Budapest when it starts chairing the Visegrad Four, an alliance of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. The summit will be called “V4+Australia”. Australia is very interested in strengthening ties with the region, the minister said. Australia’s growing interest in central European investment may help prop up Hungary’s economic growth, the Hungarian, adding that Australian investors are mainly eyeing business opportunities in mining, water management and car industry logistics.

Szijjarto and his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop agreed that Australia and the Visegrad Four, an alliance of Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, would hold a “V4+Australia” summit meeting in Budapest during Hungary’s V4 presidency next autumn.

Hungary is to open a new consulate in Sydney, in addition to the Canberra embassy and Melbourne consulate, Szijjarto said.