KUALA LUMPUR: It’s springtime in Budapest and Hungary is warming up to the Malaysian sun.
The central European nation is reopening its embassy here after an economic crisis in 2009 forced it to close.
The landlocked country is a magnet for tourists, attracting over 10 million a year.
Malaysians can go there visa-free for 90 days.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó will do the honours tomorrow, signalling his government’s new “global opening” policy.
Wisma Putra described the return of the embassy as a mark of Europe’s confidence in Malaysia.
“It also shows that Malaysia is a strong partner of Europe,” said Undersecretary for Europe Datuk Illango Karuppannan.
Hungary’s re-entry raises the total number of European missions here to 26, including that of the European Union. Sweden re-opened its embassy in 2012.
Diplomatic ties between Malaysia and Hungary began in 1969.
Hungary set up its embassy here in 1991.
Two years later Malaysia opened its embassy in Budapest.Hungary, which joined the EU in 2004, is an upper-middle income country.
A Hungarian embassy official said the focus here would be to increase trade and woo Malaysian investments, student exchange and tourism.
Hungary is home to the largest thermal water cave system and the second-largest thermal lake in the world (Lake Hévíz), the largest lake in Central Europe (Lake Balaton), and the largest natural grasslands in Europe (Hortobágy National Park).
The embassy is on the 10th floor of Wisma Goldhill in Jalan Raja Chulan.
Dr Titanilla Toth is the charge d’Affaires with Emilia Fabian as head of economic affairs.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman will hold talks with Szijjártó in Putrajaya later.
“Trade with Hungary is on the rise and the re-opening of its embassy will provide a boost,” added Illango.