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Ombudsman calls for resolving road use issue between Austria, Hungary

The ombudsman for fundamental rights has asked his Austrian counterpart to find a solution acceptable to both Hungarians and Austrians concerning the use of a road linking Agfalva and Schattendorf (Somfalva).

Akos Kozma has written to Gaby Schwarz, the head of the Austrian ombudsman’s office, his office said on Tuesday.

This was in reaction to Hungarian citizens having contacted him about the closure of the road connecting the two villages, Kozma said in a statement.

They complained that the local council of Austria had initially blocked vehicle use on the road built with European Union co-financing in the morning and evening hours, preventing Hungarians travelling to Austria for work by car. Since March 1, the road has been fully blocked for vehicles, the statement said.

Since July 1, the Schattendorf local council again allows the use of the road but only on the basis of individual requests, against a fee, it added.

The restrictions on Hungarians citizens’ use of the road may constitute a breach of the right to free movement of persons and labour, a fundamental EU right, so Kozma has asked Schwarz if her office had examined the measures introduced by Schattendorf. If no such examination has been started, the Hungarian ombudsman will ask his Austrian counterpart to launch one, the statement said.

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