“The relationship between Hungary and Poland is one of the cornerstones of Hungarian foreign relations; the friendship between the Hungarian and Polish people is a special relationship spanning many periods of history”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Friday in Budapest at the Hungarian-Polish Business Forum.

The parallels between the past and historic events of the two peoples are clearly demonstrated by the fact that this year marks the 60th anniversary of both the Poznan Uprising in Poland and the 1956 Revolution in Hungary, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted.

DownloadPhoto: Márton Kovács/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

2015 was an extremely difficult year for both Hungary and Poland and both the two countries and the European continent will have to face many more tough challenges in 2016, he stressed.

Last year, Hungary was capable of stopping the “insane” wave of migration at the country’s borders, but we owe a debt of gratitude to Poland and the countries of the Visegrád Group, because this required the help of the V4, the Foreign Minister emphasised.

Europe must consider the economic challenges posed by the wave of immigration and what economic consequences the possible collapse of the Schengen system might have, he noted, adding that the Schengen system is based on two fundamental pieces of consensus: that there is no border control between countries that are part of the Schengen Area, and that the Area’s external borders must be protected. The collapse of the Schengen system would reduce the European Union’s economic activities and performance by as much as 10-20 percent, he pointed out.

Mr. Szijjártó highlighted the fact that Hungarian-Polish bilateral trade flow increased by 9 percent to a record 7.9 billion euros last year, including a 6 percent increase in Hungarian exports to Poland to 3.4 billion euros, which is also a record figure.

The Foreign Minister pointed out that Poland is Hungary’s sixth most important trade partner and highlighted the fact that Hungarian Eximbank has opened a credit line of 492 million euros to facilitate the further tightening of economic relations, which is available for the deepening and strengthening of economic cooperation between Hungarian and Polish enterprises, including for the establishment of Polish-Hungarian joint ventures and to enable businesses from the two countries to appear jointly on foreign markets.

Mr. Szijjártó reminded those present that Hungary and Poland intend to connect Eastern Hungary and Poland’s eastern industrial region via a direct motorway link and are also working to facilitate the launching of a direct air route between Budapest and Krakow.

DownloadPhoto: Márton Kovács/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

CEO of Hungarian National Trading House Cls. Zsanett Ducsai-Oláh said one of the organisation’s strategic objectives is to help Hungarian companies who have already proven themselves on international markets, and who can significantly contribute to the further economic development of Poland with their innovative solutions, to also appear on the Polish market. Accordingly, the Trading House’s office in Krakow is offering concrete business opportunities to Hungarian and Polish companies, monitoring the whole export process and helping companies find suitable partners and to organise business meetings and expos.

Ms. Ducsai-Oláh also said that one of the priority areas for the further reinforcement of bilateral economic and social relations is the development of transport and energy networks, stressing that the establishment of a North-South transport and energy corridor might also be regarded as a strategic goal, in addition to which further business relations may also be established within the fields of telecommunications, the renewable energy industry, the machinery industry and the food industry.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)