Hungary sees Indonesia as an emerging regional giant, with commendable democratic governance credentials. Hungary and Indonesia share very healthy, comlementary relations. Visiting Foreign Minister of Hungary Dr. János Martonyi talked to The Jakarta Post’s Yohanna Ririhena on bilateral relations and the future trends of ASEAN-European Union (EU) relations.
Question: What is the current state of Indonesia-Hungary relations?
Answer: We have a very good relationship, long standing links. In 2015, it will be 60 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations. Traditionally, we have close economic, cultural, political and trade ties.
But we would like to speed things up now. It fits our foreign policy strategy, which we call the global opening, but also in line with the rapidly growing role and the importance of Indonesia is a major factor of stability in the region.
What will you explore durint this visit to develop this relationship?
We would like to intensify political dialogue. There are a lot of issues we’d like to talk about, for instance on religious diversity, dialogue between relegions based upon the same value system which we all share.
We are also interested in concrete economic cooperation projects, for instance in the oil industry. We have a large oil company which is very much interested in cooperation with Indonesia.
But we have a lot other things to offer, in information technology. agriculture, water management and education. More than 170 Hungarians have studied here over the last several years.
How could Hungary be a gateway for Indonesia to EU?
There are a lot of things we can do in common, we have regional aspects. Hungary is a Central European country, we have strong Central European cooperation among ourselves, with a population of roughly 100 million people.
Despite the economic crisis, the growth rate within this part of Europe is still somewhat higher than the average. So, it is still a dynamically developing region.
It is a region thet has traditional ties with Asia, indeed with Indonesia. That is why I believe that Central Europe, and in particular Budapest, can be and will have to be a gateway for Indonesia. We look at Indonesia as an anchor for this region as well.
How do you view Indonesia in terms of the regional and global context?
Indonesia is not only a regional power but also global power. It is part of the G20, and a key factor of stability in the region. Look at Myanmar, or the Cambodia-Thailand conflict, where Indonesia has played a leading role (in seeking resolutions).
Indonesia will be one of the world’s largest economies in 15 years. That is why we have to come and to learn. We should learn from Asia and Asia could learn a lot from Europe. This is a two-way process.
What is your view on future EU-ASEAN relations?
There was an idea that we should have a comprehensive free-trade framework between the EU and ASEAN.
However, we realized that it may be a bit too early just now. So, we will try to conclude agreements on a bilateral basis between member countries of ASEAN and the EU.
Once the agreements are made, then we can come back to the initial idea and set up an agreement between ASEAN and the EU.
ASEAN after all is the second most successful integration scheme in the world, after the EU. ASEAN is a very promising example of regional integration.
The EU and all member states have always been very keen on assisting the integration process because we do believe regional integration is a key factor in the global future.
So it shouldn’t just be Europe but also other regions, and ASEAN is the most promising exercise. ASEAN and the EU are both very much interested in the sucess of the other.
Integration has always been very slow. It is an organic process, which can’t be pushed, a slow process and it is happening now in ASEAN. We very much want to see the sucessful implementation of the idea of an ASEAN Community in 2015.