Greece-Hungary, Bilateral relations
1. Diplomatic relations between Greece and Hungary were restored on 23/7/1956, but their activation at the level of ambassadors did not take place until 24/8/1964.
2. Framework of Treaties: Until 1/5/2004 the prospect, and then the accession of Hungary into the EU made invalid many bilateral agreements. It must be mentioned, however, the renewal of the Program of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation as well as the Memorandum for Cooperation in Promoting Technology Transfer in the field of Informatics and Communication.
3. Bilateral political relations are described as excellent by both parties, consequently the goals set for the future focus on the further, commensurate development of bilateral economic and cultural relations. Bilateral political contacts are regular on all the levels with decisive influence on the further strengthening of the ties between Greece and Hungary.
In this regard mention must be made of the state visits of Presidents of the Republic (Mr. K. Stephanopoulos to Hungary in April 1998, and Mr. F. Mádl to Greece in September 2003) and Prime Ministers (Mr. K. Simitis to Hungary in November 2000 and Mr. Péter Medgyessy to Greece in January 2003). Bilateral visits of Ministers and State Secretaries from both sides are numerous and frequent, a fact that proves the existence of excellent, friendly relations covering a broad spectrum of activities.
4. Economic and trade relations:
a) Statistics for the year 2005 confirm an increase of 30% in the volume of bilateral commercial transactions, 522 millons of USD compared with 404 millions in 2004. In 2005 Greek export amounted to 80,3 millions of USA dollars as against 75,9 millions USD in 2004 containing mainly fresh fruit, processed food, aluminium ware, plastics, stationery, tubes, machines etc. Hungarian export amounted to 442 millions of dollars as against 328 millions in 2004 and was composed mainly of electronic and telecommunication articles, cars, maize, wheat, plastics, animal products, chemicals etc.
b) Greek capital invested in Hungary topped the 500 millions of dollars (including the purchase of the Coca Cola Company by the Greek firm 3E for about 300 millions of USD). The next important investment is in the field of paper industry (Thrace Paper Mills), followed by food, informatics, telecommunications industrial packing, articles of domestic and professional use, minerals etc.
c) Tourism. Greece continues to be the most popular travel destination for the Hungarians with over 100.000 arrivals pro year (more than 15% of the Hungarian tourists travelling in an organized way).
5. Cultural relations:
a) There is a number of Greek associations with many kinds of activities: the Cultural Association of the Greeks of Hungary, the Association of Greek Youth of Hungary, the Organization of the Greek Ladies of Budapest, the Cultural Society „Karyatides”, the Greek Traditional Dance Association „Chelidonaki”, but there are also federations and foundations, as the Greek Student Federation Semmelweis or the Foundation „Home of Hellenism”. Greek popular tradition has a visible presence in many cultural events in Budapest.
b) Worth of mention is the work of the Department of Modern Greek of the University Eötvös Loránd of Budapest, where Greek language and literature are taught on university level.
c) One of the most important cultural manifestations of Greece in Hungary was the Exhibition of Greek Jewellery from the Stone Age up to our days. The exhibition was organized in the Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest between 15.5.2003 and 30.6.2003., in the framework of a series of programs related to the Greek Presidency of the EU.
6. Greek Community: The Greek community of Hungary is composed mostly of political refugees of the Greek civil war who did not return to Greece and their descendants. It numbers about 4500-5000 members and has been officially recognized as an ethnic minority group, enjoying political and economic privileges. The Self-Government of the Greeks of Hungary is the highest collective organ of the Greek minority, and there are also local self-governments with elected dignitaries. In the village „Beloiannisz”, founded in 1950 for the Greek refugees, the mayor is traditionally Greek, although the number of the Greeks has dwindled to about 300 in a total populaton of 1200.
Source: Greek Embassy in Hungary