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Crisis Is Like Old Times To Hungary – Ambassador …

  • November 22nd, 2012
  • Posted by 7thmin

budapest-wikipedia.jpg“Somebody has to buy all those socks they make in China”, says Anna Siko, Hungarian Ambassador to Australia.

hungary-ambassador-cu.jpg Asked about the advent of an “Asian Century” of prospective economic hegemony by the Asian economies, Ms Siko (picture) was quick with a reminder that economies of the world are today inter-dependent – and that a chief partner will be Europe.

Like other leading figures of the European Union, she puts in a quiet reminder about Europe’s size and link ages, for one thing as the principal business partner  – trade and investment combined – for Australia.


But with recession and financial crisis still biting hard in 2012, how are the former communist countries of Eastern Europe, like Hungary, with their smaller economies – not so much heard of in the recent debates?

“For the so-called eastern wing of the EU, we have our share of those serious problems, with the currency and unemployment; you hear doom and gloom, but since 1990, and especially since most came into the EU in 2004, macro economic performance has been good”, she says.

“In some cases economic performance has been better than parts of Western Europe!”


Ms Siko, Cambridge-educated, a former English language teacher,  is good humoured about the tides of history and economics, but a firm patriot.

“We are asked our experience since ‘joining’ Europe”, she says, at a function in Brisbane for the Australian Council for Europe, “and we say: ‘We didn’t join Europe, we were always in the middle of it’.

“That does depend a little on Mr Putin (Vladimir Putin, President of Russia); if he thinks that Russia is in Europe then we are even more in the middle of it.”

The ambassador likes to reminisce about the “revolution of 1956”, when Soviet tanks moved into Budapest to put down a bid for national independence, headed by leader of the actual communist regime.

“We won that water polo game”, she says, recalling the brawl in the water between Hungarian and Soviet players, at the low point of bad feeling, during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

“Hungary has always been at a cross-roads, on the Silk Route, in the path of movements from the East and West, so it has been a turbulent history – and we are quite rebellious.”


Greg Gavrionitis