By Filane Mikee Cervantes

BOOSTING TIES. Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó (left) pays a courtesy call on President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at Malacañang Palace on Thursday (June 13, 2024). During the meeting, Marcos expressed hope to boost the ties between the Philippines and Hungary, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations. (Photo courtesy of PPA Pool, Ryan Baldemor)

MANILA – Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjárto made a courtesy call on President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at Malacañan Palace on Thursday. 

During the meeting, Marcos expressed hope to boost the ties between the Philippines and Hungary, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.

“I hope that with all that is happening around the world and all of the opportunities, of course, there are challenges, and all the opportunities also that is – that we’ll be able to hopefully forge new relationships,” he said.

Marcos noted that several Filipinos live and work in Hungary.

“And so, it seems that they have found a new place for them to find some better opportunities for themselves,” he said.

Szijjárto, meanwhile, said trade between Hungary and the Philippines has already reached the USD200 million mark.

He said he would work with his Philippine counterparts to further improve the bilateral trade and ties between the two countries.

“Thank you so much for the invitation. You have great secretaries with whom I’ll be working together for a long time. This is the third occasion that I have the honor to visit your fantastic country,” Szijjárto said.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Szijjártó, together with Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, will lead the 8th Philippines-Hungary Political Consultations.

He will also meet with Secretaries Alfredo Pascual of trade and Hans Leo Cacdac of migrant workers.

The bilateral meeting follows the 2022 Philippines-Hungary Political Consultations in Budapest, during which the two states reviewed the status of pending agreements on financial cooperation and transport.

In past consultations, the two states also looked into ways to further use existing agreements on agriculture and science and technology, with focus on sustainable agriculture and information technology.

Both sides at that time also looked into a possible bilateral labor agreement to govern the labor cooperation between the two countries.

To date, Hungary remains a key partner of the Philippines in education, water technology, agriculture, culture, and sports.

“The two countries’ relations are marked by a shared commitment to democracy, rule of law, and compliance with international law,” the DFA said. 

This visit is part of the Hungarian top diplomat’s official tour of Southeast Asia and marks his third trip to the Philippines in his current role.

He previously visited in 2017, meeting with Manalo who was then acting foreign affairs secretary, and in 2020, engaging with then-Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (PNA)