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Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Hungary

The landmark year in relations between Switzerland and Hungary was 1956. Following the failure of the uprising against Soviet communism, nearly 12,000 Hungarians were granted asylum in Switzerland.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

The two countries maintain close diplomatic relations. The focus is on Switzerland’s cooperation with Hungary in the context of Switzerland’s contribution to EU enlargement.

Economic cooperation

Hungary is Switzerland’s third largest trading partner in Central Europe. The balance of trade has traditionally been positive for Switzerland. Within its region, Hungary is also an important destination for direct Swiss investments, which amounted to CHF 1.8 billion at the end of 2011.

Cooperation in the domain of education

In the scientific field Switzerland has, through its contribution to EU enlargement, supported a partnership programme between the Andrássy German-Language University in Budapest and the University of St. Gallen as well as a programme of grants for Hungarian scholars registered at Swiss universities.

Scholars and artists from Hungary can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.

Swiss contribution to EU enlargement

Hungary is benefitting from support in the context of the Swiss contribution to EU enlargement (for a total of approximately CHF 131 million during the five-year period up to June 2012; payments for the projects will be completed by 2017). On 14 June 2012, 100% of the money had been committed for a total of 37 projects.

Swiss nationals in Hungary

At the end of 2012 there were 1919 Swiss citizens living in Hungary.

History of bilateral relations

Diplomatic relations were broken off at the end of the war and re-established in 1946. After the end of democratic government and transformation of the country into a communist people’s republic under Soviet influence, relations cooled considerably. The Swiss community, which still had 730 members in 1943, fell to fewer than 100 in the course of the 1950s.

Relations between the two countries went through a critical period at the time the Hungarian revolution was crushed by Soviet troops in 1956. An unprecedented wave of sympathy and solidarity appeared in Switzerland and took the form of sending assistance and, in particular, of accepting Hungarian refugees.

In 2000, Switzerland was the first Western European country to recognise the Hungarian identity card as a valid travel document.