Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hungary Closes Shops

June 17, 2009, 9:55 CET

Hungary to close, merge embassies and consulates

Hungary will streamline its network of diplomatic missions and end up with 102 representations in 80 states as a result, Foreign Minister Peter Balazs told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

Mr Balazs said that Hungary would close its embassies in Luxembourg, Venezuela, Chile and Malaysia and as well as its consulates general in Dusseldorf, Lyon, Krakow, Chicago, Toronto, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong and Sydney.

Hungary will also integrate its UNESCO mission into the country's embassy in Paris and combine its WTO and UN delegations in Geneva as well as its OSCE and UN delegations in Vienna.

Mr Balazs said that the closings and consolidations would save HUF 2bn (EUR 7.2m) per year and increase the efficiency of Hungary's network of diplomatic representation.

The foreign minister said the closings and mergers will eliminate 70 positions, though all those who lose their jobs as a result of the closings and mergers will be transferred to other positions within the foreign ministry.

They will also review Hungary's membership in international organisations, Mr Balazs said.

Mr Balazs noted that the foreign ministry's 2009 budget was reduced from the originally stipulated HUF 49bn to HUF 44bn, adding that money stemming from sale of the ministry's property in the affected locations will be allocated to the central budget.

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