Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened Hungary’s foreign trade mission in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, Szijjártó emphasised Hungary and Israel’s “true friendship”, saying that the trade mission and the organisation of a Hungarian cultural year in the country were signs of the significance Hungary attaches to its relationship with Israel.
The global economy and world politics are undergoing major and swift changes, Szijjártó said, adding that these changes were having a big impact on small open economies like Hungary.
The Hungarian economy, he said, “is entering a new dimension” in which the focus would be on innovation.
Israeli companies develop and use the most state-of-the-art technologies, and it is in the interest of Hungary and Hungarian firms to cooperate closely with them, the minister said. This is why, he said, Hungary had decided to open a trade mission in Jerusalem.
Szijjártó said Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a 555 million euro credit line to promote bilateral business ties.
As regards the two countries’ friendship, the minister said Hungary had always fought for a “fair and balanced approach” to Israel on the part of the international community.
Szijjártó added that Hungary will not implement the European Commission’s decision to label products from Israeli settlements. Hungary believes that closer and more dynamic cooperation is needed between the European Union and Israel, he said.
Netanyahu also underscored the significance of the trade mission, noting that the announcement of the the mission’s opening had been made by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán when he visited Jerusalem last month.
Netanyahu said the two countries’ friendship and trade relations were closer than ever before.
The prime minister expressed his gratitude for Hungary’s support for Israel at international forums and its strong stand against anti-Semitism.
Szijjártó on Tuesday opened a Hungarian cultural season in Tel Aviv, marking the 30th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic ties between Hungary and Israel.
The programmes to be organised across multiple Israeli cities as part of the cultural season running between March and October will showcase both Hungarian traditions and contemporary art, Szijjártó said at the opening ceremony.
Some 50 events will be organised, bringing to Israel elements of Hungarian culture such as the country’s jazz music, gastronomy, traditional folk dance, opera and Hungarian operetta, he said.
Szijjártó emphasised Hungary and Israel’s close friendship and strategic alliance, saying Hungary was proud of the traditions of its Jewish community, which he noted was central Europe’s largest.