Germany and Hungary: Bilateral relations

12.03.2024 - Article

The two countries established diplomatic relations on 21 December 1973, following the Federal Republic of Germany’s accession to the United Nations. Hungary set down an important marker for these relations on 10 September 1989 when it opened up its border with Austria for refugees from the GDR who were in Hungary.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the opening of the border and the fall of the Berlin Wall, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Sopron in August 2019 and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visited Budapest in November 2019. The dialogue was continued at the meeting between Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin in February 2020 and the meeting between Orbán and Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin in October 2022. 6 February 2022 marked the 30th anniversary of the friendship treaty between Germany and Hungary. Minister of State Anna Lührmann visited Hungary on 23 February 2023, while European Union Affairs Minister János Bóka was in Berlin for talks on 29 September 2023.

Germany and Hungary’s economies are closely interlinked. Germany is Hungary’s main trading partner by far, accounting for approximately 24% of imports and 27% of exports, followed respectively by China, with 7% of imports, and Italy, with 6% of exports. The German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DUIHK) in Budapest represents the interests of more than 900 member companies. Some 3000 German companies are active in Hungary. According to the country’s statistics, around 300,000 Hungarians work for German companies. They generate approximately one sixth of Hungary’s GDP.

The German language plays a key role in Hungary. In the field of higher education, there is a centuries-old tradition of German-Hungarian cooperation. Currently 566 higher education cooperation projects are under way. Andrássy University Budapest 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.

Examples of how the Joint Declaration on the Further Development and Intensification of Cooperation in Scientific Research and Technological Development, signed in 2004, is being implemented include the Fraunhofer Project Center for Production Management and Information Technology in Budapest, the EPIC InnoLabs joint venture established by the Fraunhofer Institute and the SZTAKI research institute, and the site of the European laser research consortium Extreme Light Infrastructure, set up with German investment, in Szeged.


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