Novak: Hungarians 'enjoying life again' thanks to high vaccination rate

Morocco, Albania to recognise Hungary immunity certificates

Hungary has reached an agreement with Morocco on the mutual recognition of each other's Covid-19 immunity certificates, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after talks with his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita in Rabat on Wednesday. Later in the day the minister announced that the same applies to travels to Albania

From Thursday, Hungarian and Moroccan citizens who have been inoculated against Covid-19 will no longer be required to stay in isolation or present negative test results when entering each other’s countries, Szijjarto told a joint press conference.

The minister noted that some 26,000 Hungarians had visited Morocco in the year before the pandemic.

Szijjarto said that like Hungary in Europe, Morocco was leading the Covid vaccination drive in Africa. The reason for this, he said, was that neither country had approached the issue of vaccines from an ideological or geopolitical perspective and both had purchased both Western and Eastern jabs.

Both countries’ governments view vaccines as means for saving lives, he added.

The two countries also consider it important to learn the right lessons from the pandemic and establish the conditions for strategic sovereignty, Szijjarto said, adding that this meant being in a position to produce protective equipment, including vaccines.

Szijjarto said the pandemic posed serious economic, health and security challenges for the entire world, adding that this made cooperation between the European Union and Africa even more important.

He said North Africa played a crucial role when it came to the EU’s security. If the North African region is unstable and not peaceful, it cannot function as Europe’s “line of defence” against migration waves, he said, adding that this posed both security and health risks to the continent.

Szijjarto underlined the need for the EU to strengthen its cooperation with its southern neighbours on the basis of mutual respect. Morocco, he added, was crucial to North Africa’s strength.

Hungary and Morocco apply similar approaches to a number of global political dilemmas, he said, adding that this had led to a strategic alliance and friendship between them.

He noted that both countries considered sovereignty important in terms of their past, present and future.

Hungary therefore is a strong supporter of Morocco both within the EU’s neighbourhood policy and at a bilateral level, the minister said, noting Hungary’s support of Morocco’s candidacy for membership on the UN Security Council.

Hungary is also providing financial support for the UN opening its counter-terrorism directorate in Rabat this month. Hungary remains a participant in the UN’s mission in Western Sahara and is prepared to have the Visegrad Group support Morocco’s border protection efforts.

Concerning economic ties, Szijjarto said Hungary’s Eximbank has opened a 250 million dollar credit line to help finance Hungarian-Moroccan business cooperation. Hungarian soft drink maker Hell Energy is already present on the Moroccan market and Hungary is supplying X-ray machines to Moroccan military hospitals.

Meanwhile, Hungary has increased the number of scholarships it offers to Moroccan university students from 150 to 165, he added.

Albania to honour Hungary immunity certificates

Hungary has reached an agreement with Albania on the mutual recognition of each other’s Covid-19 immunity certificates, Szijjarto said on Facebook.

Under the deal, Hungarian and Albanian citizens who have been inoculated against Covid-19 can enter each other’s countries without restrictions from Thursday, the minister said.

“If all goes well, we’ll be back with another announcement tomorrow,” Szijjarto added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hungary reached a deal with Morocco on the mutual recognition of each other’s immunity certificates.

Novak: Hungarians ‘enjoying life again’ thanks to high vaccination rate

Hungarians are enjoying life again thanks to the country’s high vaccination rate, Katalin Novak, the minister for family affairs, said in an interview to US broadcaster The Answer.

Hungary’s health-care system never collapsed during the pandemic, and “we nor are recovering slowly from an economic point of view as well,” she said in the English-language interview to the Pro America Report programme.

“We are regaining the workplaces and . our employment rate is now as high as it used to be before” the pandemic, Novak said.

Concerning family policies, she said Hungary’s government wanted to “enable young people to have as many children as they want to have at the moment when they want to have these children”.

Asked about abortion, she said it was “natural” for the government to “protect life”.

“We are protecting the real freedom of choice, because you can choose to get married or not to get married, you can choose to have children or not to have children, you can choose to have a large family or not to have a family at all,” she said. “So I think the real choice is to be able to really consider these options and say that ‘I want to be a full time mom’ or ‘I want to be a full-time employed person and I don’t want to have any children’.

On the topic of immigration, she said there was a “national consensus” on opposition to mass immigration and the need to protect the country’s borders.

Listen to the interview in full:

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