Based on the Government’s decision, the Budapest service centre of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will extend its operations both in terms of floor space and staff, the State Secretary for Security Policy and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced.

István Mikola said at his press conference: the Government decided on the extension of the operations of the service centre on 21 June. Based on the decision, the service centre will move to the Danube Tower where the required infrastructure will be provided for its extended operations on a floor space which is 3,300 square metres bigger than the premises currently accommodating the centre. He added: 230 people work at the centre at present. An additional 150 to 200 new staff members will be hired, and based on the parties’ agreement, a significant percentage of them will be Hungarian.

DownloadPhoto: Márton Kovács

The Budapest service centre of the High Commissioner for Refugees primarily fulfils financial, accounting and IT responsibilities, but education and training are also among its activities. The State Secretary said that the operation of the service centre costs some HUF 337 million annually; Hungary is able to „offset” a part of these expenses against its contribution to the operation of UNHCR. Mr Mikola further informed the press that the global service centre contributes to the pay and other benefits of staff members with some HUF 1.8 billion annually.

"We are very happy that the service centre of UNHCR is in Hungary because we have the opportunity – amidst the processes currently taking place in the world – to engage in a professional dialogue with and to obtain professional assistance from this centre which are absolutely indispensable for us right now”, the State Secretary said. Mr Mikola also told the press that they maintain good personal relations with the centre, whose head, Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor will pay a visit to the Ministry in the near future. According to plans, the parties will exchange their experiences regarding the current situation.

The State Secretary reiterated that, the High Commissioner for Refugees included, three major UN organisations maintain operations in Hungary as an agreement has recently been reached on the relocation of UNICEF’s logistic service centre to Hungary, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has been present in Budapest for years. The new Budapest global service centre of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was opened in February 2008, and the High Commissioner also relocated its global training centre to Budapest in June 2009.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)