The new immunity certificates – Photo: M1

Minister hopeful of strong parliamentary representation for Slovakia Hungarians

Szijjarto: Central Europe should excel in approving immunity certificates

Central Europe should excel in approving coronavirus immunity certificates, Hungary's foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said after meeting his Austrian, Czech, Slovak and Slovenian counterparts in Bratislava on Thursday.

The meeting formed part of the series of consultations of the C5 group, set up by five countries last year to tackle challenges related to the pandemic. The Bratislava talks focused on ways to ease restrictions, especially lifting travel barriers.

Governments should now give priority to protecting the lives and health of their citizens, and helping life return to normal as soon as possible, Szijjarto said, adding that the only way to attain both goals simultaneously was through vaccination.

As Hungary has never seen vaccination as a geopolitical issue, it has one of the highest inoculation rates in Europe, with over half of the adult population vaccinated by now, he said.

As the related EU regulations have still to be issued, the individual countries could restore free travel through the mutual recognition of immunity certificates, Szijjarto said, proposing that the central European nations should conclude a regional agreement.

“I see no reason to block travel for vaccinated,” he said, adding that giving them the green light would by no means thwart the anti-epidemic efforts of the countries concerned.

Hungary has concluded such agreements with seven countries and hopes to announce further ones in the near future, he said.

“The time has come to conclude bilateral and regional agreements,” he said, adding that such arrangements would not run counter to European regulations.

“There cannot be any European regulation which stipulates whom member state should allow to enter its territory and whom to refuse,” Szijjarto said.

In response to a question, Szijjarto said that Hungarian-Slovak relations were “better than ever”. “Of course, there are still issues to be settled, but this is what politics is about”, he said.

Szijjarto hopeful of strong parliamentary representation for Slovakia Hungarians

With the ethnic Hungarian parties in Slovakia having joined forces to form a single party, the Hungarian community must now set its sights on strong parliamentary representation, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after talks with the leaders of Slovakia’s ethnic Hungarian party MKP in Bratislava on Thursday.

Addressing a joint press conference with MKP leader Krisztian Forro, Szijjarto welcomed that the decision to merge three Hungarian parties had brought the local Hungarian community “closer to unified representation”.

Ethnic Hungarians have an interest in having strong representation in the capital of the country they live in, he said.

Commenting on infrastructure ties between Hungary and Slovakia, Szijjarto said construction of a high-speed railway link between Miskolc, in north-eastern Hungary, and Kosice (Kassa), in southern Slovakia, will be completed in the third quarter of this year. By 2023, the two countries will establish six more infrastructure links, including three new bridges on the river Ipoly, he added.

Slovakia is now prepared to finance its part of a ferry service connecting Neszmely in Hungary and Radvan (Dunaradvany) in Slovakia, he said, adding that a bicycle and pedestrian bridge linking Dobrohost (Doborgaz) in Slovakia and Dunakiliti in Hungary was expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

“Our belief is that the more links we have between our countries, the better it will be for both of us and Slovakia’s ethnic Hungarians,” Szijjarto said.

Forro thanked the Hungarian government for its moves made to strengthen Hungary’s infrastructure ties with Slovakia, the economic development schemes geared towards the local ethnic Hungarian community and its scheme aimed at refurbishing churches.

Leave a Reply