The two countries established diplomatic relations on 21 December 1973, following the Federal Republic of Germany’s accession to the United Nations. Hungary laid a milestone for bilateral relations on 10 September 1989 when it opened its border with Austria for refugees from the GDR in Hungary.
To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the border and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Sopron on 19 August 2019; the German and Hungarian Foreign Ministers opened the German-Hungarian Youth Forum in Berlin on 10 September 2019; and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visited Budapest on 4 November 2019. The dialogue was continued at the talks between Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on 10 February 2020.
Germany and Hungary’s economies are closely interlinked. Germany is Hungary’s main bilateral trading partner, accounting for approximately 27% of trade volume. With over 3000 German firms in Hungary, the German business sector is strongly represented. The German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DUIHK) in Budapest represents the economic interests of more than 900 member companies from the two countries, Germany Trade and Invest also has an office in the country.
Cultural and educational exchange is a further important element in bilateral relations. The German language plays a significant role in education, society and business in Hungary. In the field of higher education, German-Hungarian cooperation can look back on a centuries-old tradition. Andrássy University Budapest, which was founded in 2001, is the only university outside the German-speaking countries that operates entirely in German. It is regarded as one of Hungary’s universities of excellence.
The Joint Declaration on the Further Development and Intensification of Cooperation in Scientific Research and Technological Development of 2004 forms the basis for collaboration in this field. Examples of such collaboration include the Fraunhofer Project Center for Production Management and Information Technology in Budapest, its spinoff joint firm EPIC InnoLabs, and the site of the European laser research project Extreme Light Infrastructure Delivery Consortium, with German investment, in Szeged.
In 2019, Hungary established its first European defence project (PESCO) in partnership with Germany: an Integrated European Joint Training and Simulation Centre (EUROSIM).