Germany and Hungary: Bilateral relations

05.07.2024 - Article

The two countries established diplomatic relations on 21 December 1973, following the Federal Republic of Germany’s accession to the United Nations. A milestone moment in these relations came on 10 September 1989, when Hungary opened its border with Austria to 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 travelled to Budapest in November 2019. The dialogue was continued during Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s trips to Berlin where he met Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in February 2020 and Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in October 2022. 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. Another meeting took place between Prime Minister Orbán and Federal Chancellor Scholz on 21 June 2024, shortly before Hungary assumed the EU Council Presidency on 1 July.

6 February 2022 marked the 30th anniversary of the friendship treaty between Germany and Hungary. And on 4‑5 June 2024, the German-Hungarian Forum returned to Berlin for the first time since 2019.

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. These 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 collaboration under the Joint Declaration on the Further Development and Intensification of Cooperation in Scientific Research and Technological Development, signed in 2004, 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 European laser research consortium Extreme Light Infrastructure site in Szeged, which was set up with German investment.


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