"New members mean new markets" - Cowen tells Hungarian Foreign Minister
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., has assured his Hungarian counterpart, Mr. Janos Martonyi, of Ireland's support for Hungarian membership of the European Union. "I am confident that Hungary will be in the first wave of new members and that the people of Ireland will endorse your country's application in the forthcoming referendum on the Treaty of Nice," the Minister told Mr. Martonyi in Iveagh House this afternoon.
The Minister highlighted Hungary as a leading example of how Ireland stands to benefit from EU enlargement. Total trade between Ireland and Hungary has risen by 500% since 1996 and now stands at over IR£370 million a year. "As one of the main beneficiaries of the internal market, we look forward to the day when Hungary and other new trading partners join us. The next wave of enlargement will bring the population of the market to over 500 million consumers. Ireland exports most of what it produces. New members mean new markets for our exports," he said.
Earlier at the Institute of European Affairs, Mr. Martonyi said that the welcome for the Treaty of Nice in applicant countries had been "highly positive" and that the final arrangements for enlargement had been put in place at Nice.
Note for Editors
Irish companies such as Management Solutions Corporation, Smurfit, Q-Tek, Grafton Recruitment, Glen Dimplex and Drury Communications have interests in Hungary. In preparing for Hungarian accession to the European Union, Hungarian officials have been attending training courses organised by the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) and funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs.