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Germany and Hungary: Bilateral relations

31.10.2022 - 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, the German and Hungarian Foreign Ministers opened the German-Hungarian Youth Forum in Berlin in September 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 him 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. Germany and Hungary’s economies are closely interlinked. Germany is Hungary’s main trading partner, accounting for approximately 27% of trade volume, and Hungary is likewise one of Germany’s major trading partners. Some 3000 German companies are present in Hungary. The German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DUIHK) in Budapest represents the interests of more than 900 member companies. Germany Trade and Invest also has an office in the country.

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. 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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