Hungary and Estonia share friendly relations and Hungary is a very good co-operation partner to Estonia. Our kinship provides fertile ground for enlivening bilateral relations as well as leads to joint efforts to support other Finno-Ugric peoples in preserving and developing their identities.
Hungary recognised the Republic of Estonia on 24 February 1921 and accredited Mihály Jungerti as its first Ambassador to Estonia in 1924. From 1924–1928, the Hungarian Ambassador resided in Tallinn, but in 1928 the Embassy was moved to Helsinki.
Diplomatic relations between Estonia and Hungary, which were interrupted in 1940, were restored on 2 September 1991. Hungary appointed its ambassador to Estonia on 10 December 1991. The ambassador resided in Helsinki. Estonia sent a charge d’affaires ad interim to Budapest in July of 1999.
The first Hungarian ambassador to reside in Estonia since 1928 was Béla Jávorszky, who presented his credentials in September 1999. The Hungarian Embassy in Estonia was open from 30 September 1999 until 15 September 2014. As of the latter date, Hungary was covering Estonia from Helsinki. As of 1 August 2016 the diplomatic representation of the Republic of Hungary was reopened in Tallinn on the premises of the Hungarian Cultural Institute at Piiskopi 2. This diplomatic representation operated under the jurisdiction of the Hungarian Embassy in Helsinki (Office of the Embassy of Hungary in Tallinn). From 2016–2018, Vince Szalay-Bobrovniczky was the Hungarian Ambassador. On 23 September 2018, the embassy of Hungary was reopened in Tallinn. On 13 February 2019 Ambassador Kristóf Forrai presented his credentials to President Kersti Kaljulaid.
The Hungarian honorary consul in Tartu is István Bán.
Estonia’s first-ever embassy began operating in Hungary in 1999, when Charge d’Affaires ad interim Lembit Luht presented his credentials to director general of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry’s Central Europe department György Varga.
Estonian Ambassadors to Hungary have been Toivo Tasa (1995–1999) and Mart Laanemäe (1999–2001), who both resided in Vienna; Toivo Tasa (2001–2006) was also Estonia's first Ambassador to Hungary residing in Budapest, he was followed by Miko Haljas (2006–2010) and Priit Pallum (2010–2014). As of 30 September 2014, Priit Pallum resided in Tallinn. From 2016–2018, the Estonian Ambassador to Hungary was Rein Oidekivi, residing in Vienna. On 7 June 2018, the Government of Estonia decided to re-open Estonian embassy in Budapest and from August 2018, the embassy is working again. Estonian Ambassador Kristi Karelsohn, residing in Budapest, gave her credentials to President János Áder on 3 October 2018.
Estonia’s honorary consul general in Hungary since October 1995 has been Dr András Bereczki (in Budapest), who works at Budapest ELTE University as a senior research fellow in the Finno-Ugric department.
In the Riigikogu, the Estonian-Hungarian parliamentary friendship group has 17 members and is headed by Jaak Madison.
|August 2017||Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser in Budapest at the V4+Eastern Partnership meeting of Foreign Ministers, bilateral meeting of foreign ministers of Estonia and Hungary|
|May 2017||Prime Minister Jüri Ratas|
|March 2016||Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Kaljurand on a visit to Budapest, Veszprém and Iszkaszentgyörgy, in cooperation with Tartu City Government and the Seto Cultural Fund|
|October 2015||President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor in Budapest|
|September 2012||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at the Finno-Ugri 6th World Congress in Siófok|
|October 2009||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a state visit|
|May 2009||Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet opening the new embassy building|
|May 2007||President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma|
|October 2006||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in Budapest at the celebration of the anniversary of Hungarian revolution of 1956|
|May 2005||Delegation of the Riigikogu headed by Ene Ergma at the Conference of the Speakers of the European Union Parliaments in Budapest|
|July 2004||Minister of Finance Taavi Veskimägi|
|April 2004||President Arnold Rüütel on a working visit|
|February 2004||Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Meelis Atonen|
|February 2004||President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma|
|September 2017||Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó|
|May 2017||Speaker of the Parliament László Kövér|
|December 2015||Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó on an official visit to Estonia|
|February 2014||Minister of Foreign Affairs János Martonyi at the NB8+V4 foreign ministers meeting in Narva|
|June 2013||President János Áder on a state visit|
|January 2013||Minister of Defence Csaba Hende|
|June 2011||Minister of Foreign Affairs János Martonyi|
|July 2008||Speaker of the Parliament Katalin Szili|
|July 2008||Minister of Foreign Affairs Kinga Göncz|
|November 2007||Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany|
|March 2006||President László Sólyom on a state visit|
|March 2005||Minister of the Interior Monika Lampert|
|August 2004||President Ferenc Mádl at the Finno-Ugri 4th World Congress in Tallinn|
|January 2004||Minister of Culture István Hiller|
The Finno-Ugric dimension has an important place in the relations between Hungary and Estonia. Hungary, Finland and Estonia are consistently co-operating in supporting the endeavours of our kindred peoples to preserve and foster their identity. In the speeches at the world congresses of the Finno-Ugric peoples, a central theme has been the need to preserve the indigenous language and culture.
The ambassadors of Estonia, Finland and Hungary to Russia visiting the regions of our kindred peoples has become a tradition. The Finno-Ugric republics have been visited every year since 2004.
In 2010, Hungary joined the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, contributing to the centre’s budget and sending a representative to Tallinn. As of 2015, Hungary contributes to the Baltic air policing mission. Hungary's rotations took place in 2015 and in 2017, from the air base located in Šiauliai, Lithuania.
CO-OPERATION AT THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEVEL
Friendships partnerships at the local (municipal) government level have existed for many years. A Partnership and Cooperation Agreement has been entered into between the following cities: Tartu and Veszprém, Pärnu and Siófok, Tallinn-Nõmme and Szombathely, Rakvere and Szolnok and Kose and Ócsa. Since 2015, Kõpu and Iszkaszentgyörgy are twin cities.
- The Agreement on Arranging International Highway Transportation of People and Goods;
- The Agreement on the Bases for Friendship and Co-operation;
- The Agreement on Co-operation in Culture and Education;
- The Co-operation Agreement on the Fight Against Terrorism, Illegal Trafficking with Drugs and Organised Crime;
- Agreement on the Readmission of Persons and its Implementation Protocol;
- Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation of Income and Capital and on the Prevention of Tax Evasion;
- Agreement on the mutual representation by their diplomatic and consular missions in processing visas and collecting biometric data.
In addition, Estonia and Hungary have concluded a variety of departmental international agreements.
The trade turnover bewteen Estonia and Hungary increased in 2014-2016, but has been decreasing since 2017 (mostly because of the decrease in imports). In 2018, the trade turnover was 131 million euros, ranking Hungary as Estonia's 29th trade partner.
Estonia-Hungary trade 2012–2018 (million euros)
Primary articles of export in 2018:
- Machinery and mechanical appliances – 23%
- Paper and articles thereof – 13%
- Metals and articles of metal – 17%
- Wood and articles of wood – 17%
Primary articles of import in 2018:
- Vehicles, transport equipment – 29%
- Machinery and mechanical appliances – 27%
- Articles of plastics and rubber – 11%
- Chemical porducts – 11%
All economic figures originate from the Statistical Office of Estonia
As of 31.12.2018, Hungary's direct investments in Estonia totalled 19 million euros. Estonian direct investments in Hungary totalled 4.3 million euros.
Year by year, the interest of Hungarian tourists towards Estonia as a travel destination has increased. When in 2014, 3,500 Hungarian tourists were accommodated in Estonia, the number increased to over 6,000 tourists in 2018. In addition to Tallinn, the other popular travel destinations are Tartumaa, Saaremaa, and Pärnumaa.
Cultural and educational co-operation have always played an important role in Estonia-Hungary relations. The Estonian-Hungarian Society has been active in Tallinn since 1990. Hungarians residing in Estonia established the Munkácsy Mihály Hungarians’ Association, and the Hungarian Cultural Society UKS is active in Tartu. There is also a Hungarian Culture Representation located in Tallinn, which was established in September 1993 and as of February 2002 was renamed the Hungarian Cultural Institute. On 30 January 2004, the Hungarian Minister of Culture István Hiller opened the new location of the Hungarian Institute on Toompea in Tallinn.
There is an active Hungarian-Estonian Society in Budapest led by Honorary Consul András Bereczki.
In February of 1998, the Hungarian branch of the Estonian Institute was opened in Budapest by the Minister of Culture Jaak Allik. The branch of the Estonian Institute in Hungary was the second such Estonian cultural institute abroad, the other is located in Helsinki. The first director of the Estonian Institute in Budapest was Judit Nagy, followed by Anu Kippasto (1999-2013) and Monika Segesdi (2013-2018). Since 1 January 2019 Kreet Paljas is the director of the Estonian Institute in Budapest. People interested in Estonia can obtain practical advice on exploring Estonia, as well as all manner of cultural information from the Institute. Every spring, week-long Estonian Days are held in Budapest, organized by the Institute. Films and documentaries are shown and there are concerts, literary events, and theatrical performances.
Estonia and Hungary also have an exchange programme for teachers and students. Estonian language lecturers work in Budapest, Szombathely, Szeged and Debrecen, while a Hungarian language lecturer teaches at the University of Tartu. The Estonian language can be studied in a fully realised 5-year programme in Budapest’s ELTE University.
As of 1 May 2018, there are 62 Estonian citizens officially residing in Hungary.
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