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“We have a weapon against the pandemic – vaccination,” said Hungary’s head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Gergely Gulyás, in an interview with the Austrian newspaper, Kurier. According to the Fidesz politician, the EU’s external borders must be protected, as a thousand illegal border crossings are attempted every day at the Hungarian border alone.

This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.

To the question of what Corona measures Hungary wants to introduce since the numbers are worse than in Austria, Gulyás replied that employers can already oblige their employees to be vaccinated, with the state acting as a role model, which is why compulsory vaccination was introduced for parliamentary employees.

Fact

In Austria, the 2-G rule (only people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 have access) already applies in many areas, including accommodation establishments, catering establishments, leisure, and sports facilities, cultural institutions, cable cars (from November 15), Advent markets, when using services close to the body (e.g. hairdresser), and at events with 25 people or more. Corona tests of any kind (PCR, antigen, and antibody tests) are no longer permitted as proof of entry. Wearing an FFP2 mask is mandatory in retail outlets and museums. The validity of vaccination certificates will be reduced from December 6 to nine months from full immunization (previously 12 months). After that, another dose is needed (mostly the situation of migrants at the borders of Belarus has been discussed at a meeting of the UN Security Council). A number of Western countries called on Belarus to give in.

In Hungary, however, no strict measures are valid, obligatory mask-wearing was introduced only on public transport from November 1.

Gulyás described the government’s recent measures, under which a cap on fuel prices was introduced, the minimum wage was increased, and the 13th-month pension was reinstated, as economic policy rather than social policy.

We are not social democrats, but conservatives. We support everyone who works. And those who have a family, we support even more.”

The minister added that the state can finance these expenses from its own sources, which is why it does not need EU funds. Since Hungary has handled the pandemic well from an economic point of view, the country can report a GDP growth of 7 percent this year.

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PMO Head Gulyás: 'Fidesz is still the only hope for Hungary'

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Regarding the migration crisis along the Polish-Belarusian border, Gulyás pledged the support of the Hungarian government to their “Polish friends.”

Hungary was one of the first EU countries to stress the importance of protecting the EU’s external borders. With flowers you can achieve little, you need strength. The EU should support the countries that protect the external borders more.”

As for the current situation on the southern border of Hungary, there are a thousand illegal border-crossing attempts every day, said the minister, adding that the government has already submitted a request to the Commission to cover part of the cost of border security. However, the disbursement of 1.5 billion euros has still not been made.

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The number of illegal border crossings in Hungary is over 1,000 per day, noted the head of the Prime Minister's Office.Continue reading

Regarding the use of the Israeli spy software Pegasus in Hungary, the minister said: “The tools used by the authorities to gather information are considered state secrets. All states have the necessary means to gather secret information. However, the Western media prefer to write bad things about Hungary than about other countries,” he said.

Gulyás described Hungary’s relations with Germany as “friendly in principle,” and as for Austria, the minister quoted the saying of Otto von Habsburg, who is said to have asked one evening: “What will be the evening program?” The answer: “Football match, Austria-Hungary.” To which he replied, “But who are we playing against?”

Featured image via Attila Kovács/MTI