Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó held a video conference with his Austrian, Czech and Slovakian counterparts on Monday to discuss the easing of the various restrictive measures introduced along the country’s borders, the Minister announced in a live video feed on his Facebook page.

“We are talking about four countries that are closely dependent on each other within Central Europe”, Mr. Szijjártó emphasised. As he explained, economic relations and the network of relations between transborder communities are both extremely active. “Austria and Slovakia are Hungary’s second and third most important trade partners, respectively, and Hungary realised sone ten billion euros in trade flow with both countries last year”, the Minister highlighted. “Accordingly, it is in our interests for economic and trade relations to be maintained, and to in fact gain further momentum”, he stated. “It is also in our interests for the people of Hungary to have to face as few restrictions as possible”, he added.

“Protecting human health and human lives will always be the number one priority, and during the course of cooperation between the four countries we are striving to lift as many restrictions as possible in a manner that is consistent with this principle”, he emphasised.

“The parties have in theory designated 15 June as a target date for enabling citizens from all four countries to move freely between each other’s countries” he announced. “This is heavily dependent on the numbers, which currently indicate an improving tendency, being maintained, and if so, then there is a good chance for travel between our four countries to become significantly easier in the near future”, the Minister pointed out. He also noted that in recent weeks there have been no negative experiences with relation to the easing of measures already agreed upon. “Not when we opened the opportunity for commuting with neighbouring countries, not when Austria and Hungary enabled the two-way traffic of individuals with a negative coronavirus test, and not even when we recently enabled Slovakian citizens to spend 24 hours in Hungary”, he explained. “On Monday, we came to an agreement with Serbia on reopening two-way traffic along our joint border”, he added.

“The most important aspect for us is that the numbers remain good”, the Minister underlined, adding: “Another important aspect is for joint measures to be introduced”. “We are believers in the fact that cooperation should expand”, the Minister said, noting that he will be holding talks with the Polish Foreign Minister in Budapest on Wednesday, and the easing of travel restrictions between the two countries is also expected to be a subject of discussion at the meeting. And on Friday the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade will be travelling to Ljubljana, where he will be holding talks with the Slovenian Foreign Minister on easing border restrictions. According to Mr. Szijjártó, Hungary is open to further talks, and is ready to continuously and gradually lift the border restrictions it has previously introduced along its borders.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade / MTI)