The Ambassador-designate said she was delighted to see how many friends of France are in Budapest, all of whom had preferred to come to the Residence rather than go to Lake Balaton. She said it has been more than three months since she was appointed to the Hungarian position, and she had received the approval of the Hungarian government two months ago.

"I spent most of my career as a diplomat in Europe, in European affairs," Mrs Andréani told the gathering. "I will always remember the summer of 1989 when Hungary opened its borders and allowed the fall of the Berlin Wall. And we will be eternally grateful to you."

"I then followed the negotiations for Hungary's accession to the European Union, notably with [Hungarian politician] Péter Gottfried. Then I found Hungarian colleagues and friends when I was Ambassador at NATO in Brussels and then at the OECD in Paris."

Mrs Andréani said she will now focus every day on improving and strengthening the relationship between Hungary and France as requested by President Macron and the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and as my predecessors did. And I will do that in a European spirit, with a European perspective.

"You know President Macron's ambition for Europe. We have to work together because we are stronger when we are together. And the strength of Europe is that what unites us is much more important than what separates us. I am convinced of it."

Mrs Andréani, who is a career diplomat, is a specialist in European issues. She was President Chirac's advisor on European affairs, then Secretary-General for European Affairs to Prime Ministers Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Dominique de Villepin.



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