Good afternoon. Thank you, Minister Balog, for your kind welcome and hospitality today. It is my pleasure to be here – in such a beautiful setting – to sign this bilateral agreement to harmonize our social security systems. In addition, I would like to thank the members of the Hungarian government who worked so hard with our colleagues in the U.S. government to reach this agreement for the mutual benefit of our citizens.
Hungary and the United States have deep business and economic connections, and many citizens of our countries spend significant parts of their careers working between our countries to expand those ties. Until now, many Americans and Hungarians working abroad for more than two years have had to contribute to the social security systems in both countries. Often, however, these same employees could not qualify for benefits either at home or abroad.
This agreement that we sign today will eliminate dual social security taxation of earnings for Hungarian and U.S. citizens, and it will promote equity and fairness for workers who divide their careers between the two countries. According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, approximately 10,000 American and Hungarian workers will be able to benefit from this agreement in the first decade of its enforcement.
Today’s event also marks the culmination of over six years of hard work and close coordination between the governments of Hungary and the United States. This level of cooperation between our governments is indicative of the mutual respect we have for one another, as well as our shared interest in creating a more transparent and sustainable business environment. In the days ahead, I look forward to partnering with the Hungarian government and with the business community to promote these common values, and to deepen the level of economic integration between our nations.