The Slovenian and Hungarian governments have introduced strict measures to defeat the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic and return their respective countries to a normal course of life, said Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó mentionned at the opening Thursday of a Hungarian consulate in Koper.
“As a result, the current task in Hungary is to revive the Hungarian economy as soon as possible,” he said at the ceremony.
Hungary, however, is not an island and cannot act independently of its environment or isolate itself from its neighbors, he added.
The success of economic cooperation with neighboring countries is therefore of vital importance for Hungary’s external economic performance and economic recovery, Szijjártó said.
Koper is a key city in terms of Hungary’s foreign trade policy, the minister said, stressing the importance of the port of Koper for Hungarian companies exporting their products to the Far East and Africa.
Even last year, when global trade was hit due to the pandemic, Hungarian companies shipped around 2 million tonnes of goods through the port of Koper, Szijjártó said.
“And this year we are already seeing 16% growth in commercial turnover,” said the minister, adding that Hungarian companies accounted for 10% of the port’s turnover.
Szijjártó praised Slovenia for the expansion of the port’s container terminal, calling it one of the most important projects of the last decade.
Considering the importance of exports to the Hungarian economy, it is in the interests of Hungarian companies to get their goods to port as quickly as possible, while importers want to unload their goods and ship them to Hungary just as quickly. , said Szijjártó.
The new Hungarian consulate will help Hungarian companies to ship their goods or do business in Koper as well as those investing in Slovenia, the minister said.
Regarding bilateral economic relations, Szijjártó said that the trade turnover between Hungary and Slovenia amounted to almost 3 billion euros in 2019, corresponding to the all-time high in the first quarter.
Hungary’s most successful companies continue to expand their presence in the Slovenian market, Szijjártó said. OTP Bank is now the largest player in Slovenia’s banking sector, while oil and gas company MOL is the country’s second largest fuel company, he added.
At the same time, Hungarian bank Eximbank opened a € 350 million line of credit to help finance Hungarian-Slovenian business cooperation.
Szijjártó said the new consulate in Koper will also be responsible for helping Hungarian citizens visiting the city, noting that some 49,000 Hungarians had visited the Slovenian coastline before the pandemic.
“In addition, we must not forget that there is a Hungarian diaspora of around 200 people living here by the sea, who will now have the chance to have official relations with the mother country,” he said. he declares.
The minister thanked Iztok Seljak, owner of one of the largest Slovenian companies with investments in Hungary, for agreeing to head the consulate.
He also delivered the official greetings from Hungary to Slovenia on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its independence and welcomed Slovenia’s accession to the rotating presidency of the European Union.
During the ceremony, Szijjártó also presented Slovenian policeman Erik Demirovic with the Officer Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary, Military Division, in recognition of his role in the repatriation of Hungarians during the pandemic.