Indonesia and Hungary’s diplomatic relation experiences the ups and downs, especially after the 1965 turmoil in Indonesia. However, the relation began to form closer and friendly ties in the 80s after the state visit of the Hungarian President H.E. Pal Losonczi to Indonesia (1984) and the reciprocal state visit of Indonesian President H.E. Soeharto to Hungary (1985). The closer ties between the Government of the two nations is shown from the increasing number of high-level official visits i.e. the visit of President Arpad Goncz to Indonesia (1994), the reciprocal visit of President Megawati Sukarnoputri to Hungary (2002), the visit of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány to Indonesia (2005) and the visit of President Laszlo Solyom to Indonesia in May 2008.
The state visit of Prime Minister Gyurcsány in July 2005 initiated a new era of bilateral relations between the two countries, in line with the changes of the direction of Hungary′s foreign relations following Hungary’s European Union membership. During the visit, the two governments signed the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Government of the Republic of Hungary on Economic Cooperation, which reinstated the previous economic arrangements. PM Gyurcsány also traveled to Nangroe Aceh Darussalam after the earthquake and Tsunami disaster to observe the construction of children′s clinic in Meuraksa Hospital, Banda Aceh, which was constructed as humanitarian aid and friendly gesture from the Hungarian people and government to the people of Indonesia, especially the disaster stricken people of Aceh and North Sumatra.
On 17-19 October 2005, the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. N. Hassan Wirayuda, visited Budapest in the framework of the First Session of the Joint Commission of Indonesia – Hungary. During the visit, the Indonesian Minister also signed the Memorandum of Understanding of the Establishment of Bilateral Consultation Forum between Indonesian and Hungarian Foreign Ministries. The MoU shows that the relationship between the two countries had been established in all sectors.
Since then, the bilateral relations between Indonesia and Hungary continues to grow and showed prominent activities such as, among others, the official visit of the visit of the speaker of Republic of Hungary Mrs. Katalin Zsili to Indonesia in 2007 and rewarded by the Indonesia House of Representatives delegation led by Vice-chairman Pramono Anung Parliament on December 25 to 27 October 2010. The recent visit of the Hungarian speaker Mr. Lazslo Kover to Indonesia to hold talk with his Indonesian counterpart, including with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has further tightened the bilateral relation.
Given the long history of relations between the two countries, Hungary and Indonesia share a common understanding regarding the sovereignty, separatism, terrorism and other international issues. Both countries also have a more moderate attitude and perceptive towards each others position in regional and international forums, not to mention have shown good cooperation in international forums.
So far, between the two countries had been succeeded to develop cooperation among the local governments in the form of sister city/province cooperation. During the year of 2008-2010, the two countries had signed MOU in cooperation between City of Jakarta- City of Budapest, City of Bogor-City of Godollo, and the Province of North Sumatera-Bekes Megye County. In the year of 2010, Sosto-Zoo in the east of Hungary had inaugurated “Indonesia house – Green Pyramid” which is the realization of cooperation between Sosto-Zoo, Hungary with the Ragunan Zoo, Indonesia in the exchange cooperation program of wildlife.
Economic and Trade Relations
To encourage greater economic cooperation, Second Session of the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation was held on 14-15 December 2008 in Bali. The meeting managed to deliver several economical and business agreements both between the two governments and between the business sectors of the two nations.
In the field of trade, during the last five years of Indonesia-Hungary′s trade balance showed fluctuating numbers of exports and imports to and from both countries. However, the numbers still suggests that there is a continuous progress of the bilateral trade between Indonesia and Hungary.
According to Indonesian Ministry of Trade, since 2009, occurred a significant growth in the Indonesian - Hungarian trade from U.S. $ 71.875 million to U.S. $158,894 million. The growth was accounted from the increased number of Indonesian imports from Hungary, which increases from U.S. $ 31.963 million (2008) to U.S. $ 108.399 million (2009).
This trend is considered to be a significant change for Indonesian - Hungarian bilateral trade because, during the previous years, the balance trade shows surplus for Indonesia. However, in 2009 the balance of trade showed a deficit for Indonesia amounted up to U.S. $ 57.904 million due to the import of mobile phone products from Hungary. The trend is also continuing in 2010, which according to the Indonesian Ministry of Trade, the value of reciprocal trade until October 2010 between the two countries has reached more than U.S. $ 186 million, with Indonesia′s trade deficit of U.S. $ 62.2 million.
Compared to the same period in 2009, Indonesia′s exports to Hungary for 10 months (January to October) in 2010 has increased by 49.2% with a total value of U.S. $ 62 million, while imports from Hungary to Indonesia increased by 34.6% with a total value of U.S. $ 124, 3 million.
Social and Cultural Relations
Since the beginning of the development of bilateral relation between Indonesia, both countries have been showing a sense of solidarity and empathy towards each other. Including the Hungarian people’s solidarity and empathy exercised during various calamities in Indonesia. One of the most prominent exhibitions of solidarity was the aid given to the Indonesian people stricken by Earthquake and Tsunami in 2005, both in Aceh, Yogyakarta and Padang. Hungarian Government and NGOs was one of the first that gave humanitarian assistance to victims, including the development of children′s clinic in Meuraksa, Banda Aceh as well as sending medical teams to various areas hit by disaster.
In the field of education, the number of Hungarian alumni from Dharmasiswa scholarship program continues to increase and for the academic year 2009/2010 there were 24 students who obtain approval from the Hungarian Ministry of Education to receive the said scholarship. The number of Hungarian alumni of Darmasiswa program has reached more than 200 students.
Indonesia and Hungary also managed to establish cooperation among local governments. During the year 2008-2010, the local governments had established the cooperation through the signing of the MOU of Sister City/Province cooperation between both capital cities Jakarta - Budapest, and sister city cooperation between Bogor - Godollo as well as cooperation between North Sumatra Province and Békés Megye.
On April 30, 2010 at the Sosto Zoo, Nyireghaza, inaugurated "Indonesian House - Green Pyramid" which is one realization of cooperation between Sosto-Zoo, Hungary and the Ragunan Zoo, Jakarta, in terms of animal exchange program. The Sosto Zoo also built the oceanarium and artificial forest area of 3800 m2 displayed the endemic animals from Indonesia such as Komodo Dragons, Sharks and various animals and plants from Indonesia and Southeast Asia. The Project is supported by European Union and worth of 1.5 billion Forint.