Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó inaugurated a Hungarian consular office in Lyon on Wednesday, the foreign ministry said in a statement. The statement quoted Szijjártó as saying that the new consulate will facilitate that some 20,000 Hungarians living in the region could participate in Hungary’s upcoming parliamentary election.
Szijjártó called the election and the simultaneous referendum on child protection rules “crucial”, and said it would be “important that every Hungarian’s opinion is reflected in the decision to be brought collectively on Hungary’s future”. According to the statement,
Hungarian nationals will have polls at 146 locations worldwide to cast their vote on April 3.
The Hungarian government aims to “make the lives of Hungarians easier wherever they are in the world”, Szijjártó said, adding that “it could not be achieved unless we are physically present at crucial locations, and Lyon and southern France are such places”.
Hungary used to have a consulate in Lyon since 1987, but the previous, Socialist government “closed it down in a big wave of such closures”, Szijjarto said, adding that the incumbent government had reopened most of those facilities since then, increasing the number of Hungarian representations worldwide to over 130.
“You cannot make a foreign policy, convince investors, capture export markets and represent the interest of Hungarians (abroad) sitting in Budapest,”
the minister said.
Szijjártó said Hungary-French ties were “based on mutual respect” and “becoming ever tighter”. He said the turnover of bilateral trade was on the increase, with France being Hungary’s ninth biggest trading partner, and
French companies the fifth largest investor in the country.
He spoke highly of southern France, with special regard to the Michelin and Sanofi companies.