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Hungary opened a new consulate in Malaga, marking its third diplomatic mission in Spain after the embassy in Madrid and the consulate-general in Barcelona. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the new consulate, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that “in a world that is just restarting”, there’s a greater need for interest representation and on-site assistance and diplomatic services. He also said that tourism was among the greatest losers of the coronavirus pandemic, falling by 87% globally in the past year and revenues from the sector dropped by over a 1,000 billion dollars, endangering 100-120 million jobs worldwide. “People will now set off again and we must be prepared to be able to help our citizens when necessary during their travels abroad.”
Szijjártó said opening a foreign mission in Andalusia was also a reasonable move in terms of economic interest representation considering that Andalusia, being the second largest autonomous community in Spain, contributed 15% to the country’s GDP. Additionally, it has significance for sports diplomacy because many first-class Hungarian football teams choose the region to train during the winter, he said. “We would like to see this also apply the other way round and sports cooperation to become bilateral.” Also, the consulate could help around 4,000 Hungarian citizens living in Andalusia maintain active relations with their motherland.
Deputy government commissioner Teófilo Ruiz Municio said Spain would like to see Hungarian tourists return as soon as possible, adding that before the pandemic in 2019, some 300,000 Hungarians visited Spain.