Foreign Minister Steinmeier has met with his Hungarian counterpart János Martonyi today. Their talks focused on bilateral relations between Germany and Hungary as well as on the European Union and the situation in Ukraine. At a joint press conference Steinmeier emphasised that Germany and Hungary are linked through a stable partnership.
At the start of the joint press conference with his Hungarian counterpart János Martonyi Foreign Minister Steinmeier looked back on the two countries’ shared history: he stated that Germany and Hungary associated very different events with the year of remembrance 2014. On the one hand there was the outbreak of World War I in 1914 with its consequences and on the other there was an anniversary they could celebrate together, the fall of the Berlin Wall. He added:
It is now 25 years ago that the Iron Curtain was torn down – with Hungary’s invaluable help – and that many people from the former GDR embarked on the road to freedom. This kicked off a series of events which ultimately led to German unity. We are grateful [to Hungary] to this very day and will not forget what the country did for us.
Close economic relations
Steinmeier stated that this common shared history had left its mark on bilateral relations between the two countries and was the reason for the desire to overcome differences of opinion. Steinmeier acknowledged that there had been “critical discussions” not all that long ago, for instance about controversial legislative amendments in Hungary or investment conditions for German companies.
He went on to say that some promising developments were noticeable in economic relations between Hungary and Germany. More than 3000 German companies were currently operating and creating jobs in Hungary. He stated that the resulting personal contacts are helping to create a stable partnership between Germany and Hungary.
Other issues: Europe and Ukraine
Hungary’s Foreign Minister, in turn, reaffirmed that Germany was Hungary’s most important trading partner. This applied not only to German investment in Hungary but also to Hungarian exports to Germany and tourism, he added.
In addition to bilateral relations, shaping Europe’s political role and the current situation in Ukraine were on the agenda.