Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó opened a Consulate General in Manchester, Great Britain, on Thursday.

In his speech at the event, the Minister highlighted: The new foreign representation will primarily serve to protect the rights and interests of Hungarian citizens living and working in Great Britain, and visiting there. “Great Britain is an ally and friend of Hungary, and accordingly we regret its exit from the European Union, but respect the decision of the British people”, Mr. Szijjártó emphasised. “The EU is losing a lot with Brexit, but Hungary is doing everything possible to ensure that cooperation with Great Britain remains as close as possible”, he pointed out.

The Minister said that in his opinion the two countries are linked by many things in view of the fact that both nations are proud of their history, traditions and heritage, in addition to which they both provide responses to the challenges facing Europe that are based on common sense.

“Hungary regards Great Britain as an important partner. In 2016, Great Britain was the 6th largest investor of capital in Hungary, in addition to which based on 2016 figures the 750 British companies operating in Hungary provided jobs to some 60 thousand people”, the Foreign Minister said.

“The north of England has always been on the side of Hungary and the Hungarian people. Tens of thousands of Mancunians protested in support of the Hungarian Revolution, and the visit to the city by Lajos Kossuth in 1851 is commemorated by a plaque in Manchester”, he explained. “In addition, Great Britain welcomed tens of thousands of Hungarians in 1956”, he pointed out. “There are 70 thousand Hungarians studying in the north of England, 30 thousand in the Manchester region and 10 thousand in the city itself”, the Minister told those present. “For a long time, those living here had to go to London to administer their affairs, but this has now changed”, he pointed out.

Mr. Szijjártó said that in his opinion the new Consulate General will contribute to providing efficient administration for Hungarian employees and students living in and around Manchester, and to the development of community life. He also reported on the fact that as a dress rehearsal for consular services, some 1500 Hungarians cast their vote here during the last parliamentary elections.

At the event, Mr. Szijjártó presented the Officer’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit to former Honorary Consul András Zsigmond in recognition of his work over the past 25 years, with which he was effectively involved in managing the consular affairs of Hungarian citizens living in Northern England.