Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis receives Hungary's Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó

Press release, 20.04.2021

On Tuesday 20 April 2021, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), received Hungary's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, for an official working meeting in Bern. Their talks focused on bilateral relations, Hungary's upcoming chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and the socio-political and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ignazio Cassis welcomes Hungary's Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó. © Keystone

During their meeting, Mr Cassis and Mr Szijjártó praised the good relations between the two countries. Hungary is not only a significant trading partner for Switzerland, but also an important country for Swiss investors in Central Europe. The partnership between the two countries is not limited to trade but also encompasses, for example, education and cultural exchanges.

Switzerland's role in Europe and Hungary's chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers
Besides bilateral relations, the meeting also focused on issues relating to European policy. Mr Cassis briefed Mr Szijjártó on the status of relations between Switzerland and the EU. He also congratulated Hungary on its upcoming chairmanship of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers. Mr Cassis underlined the pivotal role played by the Council of Europe's institutions in addressing the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. "The pandemic has once again reminded us of the importance of solidarity and cooperation. It has shown that challenges can be overcome much more effectively through close cooperation between states," noted Federal Councillor Cassis. He added that strengthening human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and the protection of minorities, are central elements of Switzerland's foreign policy.

Global political issues and strategic orientation
Finally, Mr Cassis presented to Mr Szijjártó Switzerland's China Strategy that was recently adopted by the Federal Council. In this context, he emphasised the importance of a dialogue that is both constructive and critical. This is the prerequisite for robust and broad-based relations, both at multilateral and bilateral levels, he said.

Close relationship thanks to historical ties
Hungary and Switzerland have a long tradition of bilateral exchanges. The events of 1956 were a turning point: after the failed Hungarian uprising against Soviet Communist rule, Switzerland took in around 12,000 Hungarian refugees and sent various consignments of aid to Hungary. Ties between the two countries remain close and multifaceted: last year, for example, 25,347 Hungarian nationals were living in Switzerland, and the volume of trade between the two countries amounted to around CHF 2.5 billion.

Further information:
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Hungary

Address for enquiries:

FDFA Communication
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Communication service: +41 58 462 31 53
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55
E-mail: kommunikation@eda.admin.ch
Twitter: @SwissMFA

Publisher:
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs