On Friday, 23 November, Estonia officially reopened its embassy in Budapest. The event was attended by Undersecretary for European Affairs Matti Maasikas and Hungary’s Deputy Minister Levente Magyar.
“Every new representation abroad is an example of Estonia’s strengthening foreign service. Embassies help us better represent our security interests, and the interests of our citizens and entrepreneurs abroad,” Foreign Minister Sven Mikser said on the occasion of the opening. “The embassy’s reopening in Hungary is the first of its kind in the coming years. In 2019, Estonia will open an embassy in the United Arab Emirates, which will be the country’s first embassy in the Gulf region, as well as a consulate on the US West coast,” he added.
According to the Foreign Minister, the importance of the reopening is multifaceted. “On the one hand, it is important to maintain bilateral relations with our kindred people, Hungarians, who continue to be Estonia’s important partner in NATO and the EU. Cooperation and dialogue between the countries is certainly more effective when there is an embassy on the ground,” Mikser said.
On the other hand, the embassy in Hungary will also help expand Estonia’s presence in the Balkans. “In the long run, we should focus on the wider Western Balkan region. The embassy will cover four countries in the Western Balkans: Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia. The region will play a greater role in the near future of the EU, and it is important for Estonia to form more concrete relations with potential future members of the EU,” noted Matti Maasikas, who was representing Estonia at the opening event.
Estonian Ambassador in Budapest Kristi Karelsohn noted that the embassy will also focus on business diplomacy. “The Estonian and Hungarian institutes have done a great job by strengthening cultural ties, but there is definitely potential for closer economic cooperation. We are glad to see that the exports of our metalworking industry have increased significantly, and a number of companies like Taxify, Transferwise and Markit have entered the Hungarian market. The embassy has taken economic cooperation as one of its main tasks,” Karelsohn explained.
The Estonian Embassy in Budapest reopened at its former address at Áldás utca 3 in August 2018 and has offered consular services since the beginning of November. From the embassy’s closing in 2014 to the summer of 2018, the Estonian Ambassador to Hungary resided in Austria.
*The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
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