The events of 1956 continue to have a significant influence on relations between Switzerland and Hungary. Following the failed uprising against Soviet communism, around 12,000 Hungarian refugees found asylum in Switzerland. Hungary was one of the recipient countries of Switzerland's contribution to the enlarged EU.
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland and Hungary maintain close diplomatic relations. Cooperation is particularly close in business and education, and in the culture sector. From 2008 until 2018, bilateral relations mainly focused on Switzerland's enlargement contribution to Hungary.
Hungary is Switzerland's third most important trading partner in central Europe. In 2018, Swiss direct investment amounted to EUR 5.7 billion, which makes Hungary the third largest recipient of Swiss investment capital in eastern and central Europe, after Russia and Poland. Since 2009, Swiss companies have been the 6th biggest foreign employer in Hungary. Trade between the two countries comprises mainly machinery and electronic products, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products.
Cooperation in education and training
From its enlargement contribution, Switzerland funded a scientific partnership programme between the German-speaking Andrássy University and the University of St Gallen, and a scholarship programme for Hungarian academics to study at Swiss universities.
Researchers and artists from Hungary can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship.
Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU
Hungary was one of the countries to benefit from Switzerland's contribution to EU enlargement. By mid-2017, 39 projects had been successfully implemented thanks to total funding of some CHF 131 million. The initial objectives were achieved and in some projects exceeded. Hungary is also a beneficiary of the second Swiss contribution.
Swiss nationals in Hungary
According to statistics on the Swiss abroad, there were 2,062 Swiss citizens living in Hungary at the end of 2019.
History of bilateral relations
In 2000, Switzerland was the first western European country to recognise the Hungarian identity card as a travel document.
Switzerland recognised the Hungarian state in 1920 after the dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy. Diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Hungary were briefly suspended at the end of the Second World War in 1945, but re-established a year later following Switzerland's recognition of the Hungarian government. Relations cooled as Hungary became a communist people's republic under the influence of the Soviet Union. Periodic economic negotiations helped to maintain economic relations with Eastern Europe during this period, despite the onset of the Cold War.
When Soviet troops crushed a Hungarian revolution against communism in 1956, Switzerland showed its solidarity with the Hungarian people by accepting around 12,000 Hungarian refugees and sending aid consignments to the country.