Photo: MTI

Menczer: Six countries agree to recognise Hungarian immunity certificate

Gulyas: Hungary ‘first to overcome pandemic’

Hungary has been "the first to overcome the coronavirus pandemic" enabling its economy to recover earlier than in other countries, the head of the Prime Minister's Office told regional daily Eszakmagyarorszag.

Gergely Gulyas welcomed as a first sign of recovery that industrial output had grown by 16.5 percent in March, and noted that the finance ministry expected a GDP growth of 4-5 percent for the full year. He added that he was hoping for an even higher figure in 2021 and a ratio over 5 percent next year.

On another subject, Gulyas welcomed that the European Union had made arrangements for coronavirus vaccine purchases, but added that “those vaccines would not have been enough to ensure the inoculation of 55 percent of Hungarian adults with at least one shot by now”. He said it had been “ill-advised to make a political out of the provenance of the vaccines”. “Hungary did not make that mistake and Hungarians will regain their accustomed lifestyle earlier,” he insisted.

Concerning the economic situation in northern Hungary, Gulyas said that closing regional economic gaps was a high government priority, and the government was committed to “do so through preserving jobs and creating new ones rather than through benefits”. He said that a lack of skilled labour was a major issue in the region, and the government was seeking to address it through changing the vocational training system. “If there is sufficient skilled workforce, more investors will come,” he said, adding that the new university model could also positively impact the labour market.

Gulyas insisted that switching to the new model was a “great opportunity” for universities because “while financing comes from the state, direct control will be independent of the state, and leaders will include representatives of science, the economy, and politics”.

This will guarantee that graduates leave with “much more marketable” skills, while Hungarian universities could close the gap with Europe’s elite schools within a few years, he added.

Gulyas rejected accusations that “the model shift means looting public assets” and insisted that the foundations controlling the universities “serve a public purpose, and their assets cannot be used for any other purpose than supporting higher education”.

On the subject of next years’s elections, Gulyas said that based on “the opposition’s accusations, their style and tone” he expected a “more aggressive campaign than ever before”. The government “must take up the gauntlet and present all achievements of the last decade” because “all that could be compromised if the opposition gains power”.

Menczer: Six countries agree to recognise Hungarian immunity certificate

Six countries — Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Turkey and Bahrein — have agreed to recognise Hungary’s vaccination certificate, a foreign ministry official said on Wednesday.

Tamas Menczer, the state secretary for communications and international relations, said in a video posted on Facebook that the Croatian authorities require Hungarians to present the slip of paper containing the dates of the two jabs they received as well as the plastic vaccination card, and will allow entry from the 14th day after the second shot.

As regards Turkey, the country has agreed to allow non-immunised minors accompanied by parents carrying an immunity card entry, Menczer noted, adding the ministry is negotiating to reach similar agreements on minors with the other countries as well.

“We can talk about travel abroad because our country is far ahead of other European countries in terms of its vaccination drive,” said Menczer.

The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said in reaction that the card alone does not serve as a free pass for entering Croatia.

Judit Foldi Racz, DK’s board member, told a press conference that the government had “yet again misinformed Hungarians” on an important Covid-related question, noting the foreign minister’s last week’s announcement on Hungary and Croatia mutually allowing free entry of immunity certificate holders.

Hungary to deliver 6,000 vaccine doses to North Macedonia

Hungary is sending 6,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to North Macedonia to aid the inoculation of 3,000 border guards, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Wednesday, after talks with his Macedonian counterpart Bujar Osmani. 

Thanks to its policy of buying Eastern as well as Western vaccines, Hungary is now in a position to help other countries, Szijjarto told a joint press conference. Effective protection efforts in other countries will also increase security in Hungary, he said.

As North Macedonia is situated on the Balkan migration route, it has to face the challenges of the pandemic and of migration pressure simultaneously, he said. If they fail to stop the migration wave, it will add to the pressure on the European Union’s external borders, he said.

On an average week, North Macedonia sees over 250 illegal border crossing attempts, he said.

He thanked Macedonian border guards for their work and pledged that Hungary would continue to send 30 men to serve on the southern border of the country.

Starting on Friday, vaccinated citizens of the two countries will be allowed to travel to each other’s lands without mandatory testing or quarantine, he said.

Osmani said Hungary had been the first to send aid to North Macedonia last year when they saw a shortage of masks. This year, it was among the first to send vaccines, he added.

He also thanked Hungary for its continued support in his country’s steps towards Euroatlantic integration. He said he hoped North Macedonia could start accession talks with the European Union this year, and said they hoped Hungary would support the process.

Ader launches foundation for orphans of Covid victims

President Janos Ader on Wednesday announced setting up a foundation to help children who lost their parents to the coronavirus pandemic.

At a celebration held in the presidential palace, Ader said that the foundation had been officially registered on Tuesday and “basic technical conditions are in place” for its operations.

Currently there are nearly 800 children that have lost their parents to Covid-19.


Leave a Reply