At a press conference in Budapest on Tuesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Tibor Navracsics said that the Ministry will be even more open than previously, and that it will be better able to represent national interests, being based on the pillars of classic diplomacy, foreign trade and cultural diplomacy.

The Minister said that the change in the Ministry’s name is a recognition of the extensive area which has been added to its range of activities. He explained that foreign trade will receive even more emphasis; it will not overshadow classic diplomacy, however, but will assist it in the same way that cultural diplomacy does.

DownloadPhoto: Zsolt BurgerMr. Navracsics stressed that the Ministry seeks to be even more open and communicative than it has been in the past, and its use of new communication channels is exemplified by the fact that the Ministry’s Facebook page will be available from Friday.

The Ministry’s spokesperson is former government spokesperson Anna Nagy.

Mr. Navracsics said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has achieved exceptional results up to now, but in response to changes in the logic of current affairs there is also a need for change at the Ministry. "The foreign trade line of force" needs to be strengthened, he said.

DownloadPhoto: Zsolt BurgerResponding to a question, he said that he would be happy to play an active role in assisting Ukraine’s aspirations for European integration, since Europe’s state of stability and peace has been one of the main achievements of such integration. In his opinion, the closer Ukraine is to the EU, the greater the country's prospects for stability and independence.

The minster informed the press conference that he would be visiting Ljubljana on Wednesday, and later seeking to meet the foreign ministers of other neighbouring countries.

At the event, the Minister introduced his nominees for state secretarial posts: Monika Balatoni for the cultural diplomacy post; Enikő Győri for EU affairs; Marcell Biró for public administration; Peter Szijjártó for parliamentary affairs; István Mikola for security policy and international cooperation; and László Szabó for foreign affairs and trade. Mr. Navracsics also confirmed that he is appointing Mr. Szijjártó as deputy minister.

Peter Szijjártó said that the creation of a ministry such as this is the most appropriate answer the Government could give to the challenge of a transformed world. He said that the establishment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade shows that the message which the new world is sending has been understood, and that Hungarian foreign policy will focus on assertion of national and foreign trade interests.

Monika Balatoni said that culture is an untapped resource, a special and indispensable opportunity, and a potential aid in areas of economic activity. She added that cultural diplomacy can indeed be a third pillar alongside those of classic diplomacy and foreign trade.

DownloadPhoto: Zsolt BurgerLászló Szabó said that, although he has no background in politics or diplomacy – having qualified as a surgeon and having hitherto mainly worked in the pharmaceutical industry – as secretary of state he will strive to represent Hungary’s national and economic interests, and to promote export and investment growth.

Enikő Győri said that within the team she represents continuity, and she will continue to be responsible for coordinating EU affairs.

Marcell Biró confirmed that his task will be implementing the integration of foreign trade with classic diplomacy, in order to create an organization that will serve the Government's aims effectively.

István Mikola mentioned that he had formerly been a minister of health, later going on to work for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). He sees it as important to improve Hungary’s image, and enhance its international recognition.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)