Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó opened a consular office in the Maltese capital of Valletta on Wednesday.

At the opening ceremony, the Minister emphasised: “There are no open issues or disputes in Hungarian-Maltese relations, and both countries are committed to further improving bilateral relations”. He said that in his opinion the two countries have succeeded in establishing a strong alliance.

“We decided to open the consular office not only in the interests of further improving bilateral relations, but also to help Hungarian citizens”. “There are three thousand Hungarians living in Malta, and last year 27 thousand people visited the island”, he pointed out, adding: “This also necessitates consular duties”.

“Hungary and Malta are supporting each other in international organisations, including with regard to the positions the two countries have applied to fill within the United Nations”, he stated. “We have concluded an agreement on cooperation between the two countries’ foreign ministries”, he noted.

Mr. Szijjártó reported on the fact that within the framework of a new initiative, every secondary school student in Hungary has the opportunity to spend two weeks in a foreign country to study languages, and Malta is one of the target countries for studying English.

“Both countries regard Christian culture as extremely important, and accordingly they are also working together to protect Christian communities”, he stressed, adding: “This is also important because both Hungary and Malta view Christianity as the foundation of European culture”.

The Foreign Minister also spoke about the fact that Europe is currently facing major challenges, and it is extremely important what responses we provide to these challenges. “Hungary and Malta represent a similar position on several issues, including EU enlargement, and on the fact that the closest possible relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom must be established once Brexit occurs”, he said.

Mr. Szijjártó said migration is the most serious challenge, adding: “Malta is in an extremely important position in view of the fact that it is located close to the source of migration”. “The two countries agree that when handling migration major emphasis must be placed on border protection, and we also agree that it would be best to assist people to enable them to live in the best possible conditions in their own homelands”, he explained.

“The foundation for Hungarian-Maltese relations has always been mutual respect, and cooperation will continue to be founded on this in future”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister highlighted.