Edited by Anna Popper

The Ambassador of the Republic of Austria, H.E. Dr. Alexander Grubmayr, LL.M., and his wife Dr. Bettina Fink hosted a Summer Party in Budapest on the 29th June 2023. The event, which has become a tradition, took place in the stunning garden of the Austrian Residence and was attended by numerous distinguished guests, including members of the diplomatic corps, Hungarian senior officials, representatives from the business, cultural, and academic circles, Austrian nationals, and friends of Austria.

In his opening speech, Ambassador Grubmayr highlighted the strong and diverse connections between the two neighbouring countries: Austria and Hungary. He emphasized the significance of economic ties, stating that Austria is the third largest investor in Hungary. The total trade volume between the two countries amounts to 13 billion Euros, making Austria Hungary’s third largest trading partner. Similarly, Hungary ranks the fifth most important export partner for Austria worldwide.

The Ambassador also noted that around 1,400 Austrian firms conduct business in Hungary, employing a workforce of 70,000 people. Additionally, around 50,000 panders commute regularly between Austria and Hungary, which once again underlines the importance of economic relations between the two countries. While acknowledging that certain sectors in Hungary face challenges, Ambassador Grubmayr emphasized that these issues are not new and affect some strategic areas of business.

Culture plays a vital role in bilateral relations, as highlighted by the presence of the director of the Austrian Cultural Forum at the event. Three months earlier, Austria and Hungary signed a new cooperation agreement on culture, thereby further strengthening their cultural ties. The Austrian Cultural Forum collaborates extensively with its Hungarian partners in various fields.

The Ambassador stressed the intensive cooperation between Austria and Hungary in other areas as well, particularly in the military sector. Cooperation between the two countries covers 32 areas, including the training of Hungarian soldiers by the Austrian military on the Leopard 2 German tank.

Ambassador Grubmayr also mentioned the significance of the trilateral summit meeting hosted by the Austrian government and attended by Prime Minister Orban and President Vucic. This meeting marked the third summit within a year and aimed to combat human trafficking and migration. The high number of illegal migrants traveling from Serbia to Austria via Hungary posed significant challenges, making this trilateral cooperation crucial and it proved useful. In addition, Austria and Hungary have close cooperation between their police forces at the border between Hungary and Burgenland in Austria, as well as the border between Serbia and Hungary. They are also working to support the Serbian government with police officers at the border between Serbia and North Macedonia, in collaboration with the Hungarian police.

The Ambassador expressed his gratitude for the successful cooperation in various fields and extended his thanks to the sponsors of the event. Special appreciation was given to Mr. Othmar Michl, President of the Austrian-Hungarian Business Council, and Mr Radovan Jellasic, CEO of Erste Bank Hungary. The support of sponsors such as Szamos, Aldi, Julius Meinl and Unicum made the event possible and ensured a beautiful and relaxed summer atmosphere.

The delicious aroma of freshly prepared food filled the air as guests made their way through the buffet. Throughout the evening, the invitees continued exploring and savouring the wide variety of dishes, excellent wines, and delectable desserts.

The live music in the background added an extra layer of enjoyment. As always, the ambiance was lively and full of friendly conversations.

Source: Embassy of Austria in Budapest

Photos: DPA