Farsighted leaders behind UAE's success: Zoltan Jancsi
In our series of interviews with ambassadors from around the world stationed in the UAE, Khaleej Times this week speaks with Hungarian Ambassador Zoltan Jancsi about the agreement on avoidance of double taxation, economic cooperation between the two countries and the UAE’s state-of-the-art economy
What is your background?
By profession, I’m a civil aircraft maintenance engineer and used to work for the Hungarian airline, Malev at Budapest Airport for years. Other countries, different lifestyles and people were constantly my fields of interest. This pushed me towards international affairs, so in 1989 I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I spent a decade as a security policy adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office, taking part in my country’s accession to NATO and the EU. Most lately I headed the operational Department of Informatics and Security within the Ministry.
In which other countries and in what capacity have you previously worked?
You can call me a globe-trotter. My first posting, as a consul, was in Bulgaria in 1989 at our Embassy in Sofia. From 2005 till 2009 I worked in Sydney as the number two diplomat at the General Consulate of Hungary. This is my third round abroad and the first appointment as Head of a Hungarian Mission.
How long have you been in the UAE?
My plane landed in Abu Dhabi on August 2 and I, like my Russian colleague, received a ‘warm welcome’, with temperatures as high as 55 degrees. Joking aside, during the last three months I have settled in this charming city, met most of my diplomatic colleagues, started courtesy visits at state offices and the business community and met my compatriots at a recent informal party.
Are you here with your family? If so, tell us about them.
My wife, Ildikó, is here too. I have two grown-up children, living in Budapest. My daughter even has two children of her own. They are my darlings.
What do you think are the successes of the UAE?
This country and its farsighted leading statesmen realised the vital necessity to transfer the obvious geographical advantages and the enormous wealth provided by the natural resources into a state-of-the-art economy. The UAE became the financial, business and trade hub of the region, while cautiously investing its financial assets on the global arena. This economic wealth means responsibility towards the society as well.
What do you think are the challenges faced by the UAE?
There are current political, religious and social turbulence shaking the wider neighbourhood. A country so peaceful and open like the UAE needs a calm, tolerant and balanced atmosphere to accomplish its goals.
What are your priorities in your role?
To enhance all aspects of the bilateral cooperation between our countries, extend the system of agreements that gives the legal framework for cooperation, to vitalise further business and trade relations, and of course care for Hungarians living here or traveling to the UAE.
What are the relations between the UAE and your country?
They are constantly developing. There is an atmosphere of mutual trust with no open issues, which gives a solid basis for cooperation. We signed the agreement on avoidance of double taxation. Currently we are finalising an agreement on economic cooperation. An agreement on investment protection is underway. On 27th October, the Hungarian carrier Wizz Air launched its direct flight connection between Budapest and Dubai. We have various other plans.
What is your favourite pastime in the UAE?
These early days have been so busy that I have not had much spare time. I like to travel and have done some short trips in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but I’m looking forward to visiting the northern part of the country as well. I hope to make some 4X4 trips and have also made some cautious attempts to play golf, in which I’m a real beginner.
Have there been any developments in terms of the UAE establishing an embassy in Hungary? Why is Hungary so eager to have the country set up an embassy, as it seems like there are not many Emiratis residing in Hungary?
You would be surprised. Quite a few Emiratis invest in real-estate, buying residential properties in Hungary. However, it is only one of the functions of an Embassy to care for your citizens. It serves as a communication channel between the governing bodies, handles the official visits, promotes the country and supports the trade relations.
What is the visa situation for Emiratis travelling to Hungary?
Hungary, being a member of the Schengen Treaty, acts jointly with our fellow EU countries on the visa waiver initiative for the UAE. From the very first moment we supported the idea and during the last half year there has been very good progress. A few weeks ago the proposal passed the European Parliament’s relevant commissions and there is a good chance it will be enacted by the EU Commission very soon.
What was the reason for signing the agreement to avoid double taxation? Had it caused citizens any problems prior to the agreement?
The agreement was the first in line in a series of accords to be concluded between our countries. It formulates clear definitions and gives supporting instructions for income earners and companies operating in each other’s countries, what their obligations are and opportunities when it comes paying their taxes.
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