The migration policies of Australia and Hungary fully coincide, and therefore Hungary firmly supports Australia’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stated in a telephone interview given to the Hungarian news agency MTI after his talks in Canberra on Wednesday.
Hungary was elected into the UN body for a period of three years in the autumn, and therefore if Australia, too, is elected this year, the two countries will be able to cooperate for two years in the interest of gaining wider acceptance for their identical migration policies, he added.
“The Australians, too, reserve the right for themselves to decide whom to let into their own country, reserve the right to protect their borders, and take the view that it should be decided outside the territory of Australia who should be granted the right to enter and given refugee status. Hungary, too, shares the view that the decision on who may enter the territory of the European Union should be made outside the European Union, in so-called hot spots”, he said.
“We agree that help must be taken where it is needed, rather than taking the problems to places where there are no problems. The Australians, too, believe that the countries surrounding war-stricken Iraq and Syria should be supported to ensure that refugees should not move on from there”, Mr Szijjártó argued.
He said that, similar to Hungary, Australia has also recently tightened its anti-terrorism law, and has instated immigration detention in respect of those who arrive in the country illegally and apply for asylum.
According to the Minister’s account, economic relations between the two countries are growing dynamically. Bilateral trade reached almost USD 500 million (HUF 145 billion) last year. Hungarian exports accounted for USD 440 million, mostly vehicle and machine industry products, and the pharmaceutical industry, too, is successfully increasing its exports to Australia.
In order for Budapest to be able to further improve the market presence of Hungarian businesses, it is a committed supporter of the free trade agreement to be concluded by Australia and the European Union, and is encouraging the EU to make use of the historic opportunity that, on account of the withdrawal of the United States from the negotiations of the multilateral trade agreement known under the name Trans-Pacific Partnership, Australia, too, is seeking new partnership relations.
Mr Szijjártó reiterated that the agreement between the two countries on the so-called working holiday entered into force in January. This means that young people who visit the other country for the purposes of studying or tourism are allowed to engage in employment for a year under less stringent conditions.
Hungary has opened a credit facility worth 742 million dollars (HUF 215 billion) with Eximbank from which it will seek to finance the expansion of Hungarian businesses on the Australian market, and it is important in this context that Australia is currently in the process of implementing a major regional development plan with a view to modernising the northern part of the country. “In this project, the need may well emerge for Hungarian infrastructure development and water management solutions”, the Minister stated.
An agreement has been reached that when Hungary assumes the presidency of the cooperation of the Visegrád countries in July this year, it will organise a “V4 plus Australia” meeting of Foreign Ministers in Budapest. „Canberra is very interested in further tightening cooperation with the Central-European region”, he said.
Mr Szijjártó reported: Hungary decided to open a foreign trade and consular representation in Sydney as well, in addition to its embassy and consulate in Canberra and Melbourne, respectively, as it wishes to further enhance its presence in the country where there is a Hungarian minority of some one hundred thousand, and despite the enormous geographical distance, Budapest has major economic interests, while there is also significant political cooperation between the two countries.
[Source: Hungary Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/(MTI)-Media Relations]
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