The opinion and safety of people living in settlements near the border are important for the government, Károly Kontrát and István Nagy stressed at a press conference held at the Hegyeshalom border crossing station on the M1 motorway after they met with mayors from the region.

Károly Kontrát, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry of Interior, highlighted that the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic has reached Hungary; the number of infections has increased significantly. In this situation, the government has three tasks: to take care of the safety of the elderly and of schools, and to provide for the smooth operation of the Hungarian economy.

Travel restrictions which yielded the expected results also in the spring and were among the pledges of success are some of the most important means in the fulfilment of these three tasks. Also at present, this is one of the lines of defence we are employing in the interest of protecting the health of the Hungarian people, he said.

He added that the government believes it is important that everyone should observe these rules, but it is likewise important to acquaint itself with the opinion of people living in settlements near the border. This is why on Saturday morning they met with the mayors of settlements in the vicinity of Hegyeshalom.

Minister of Agriculture István Nagy, Member of Parliament for the constituency, said a special situation has developed in regions near the borders as the restrictions have brought about changes in the lives of workers.

The Minister, too, pointed out everyone must understand that the purpose of the restrictions on the crossing of the border is to maintain the operation of the Hungarian economy and to guarantee normal life within the borders. Contact tracing shows that the virus has been reintroduced into the country from abroad, he added.

He highlighted that the government listened to the observations of people living near the border, and guarantees the daily crossing of the border for them.

He detailed that those living within thirty kilometres of the border are able to cross the Hungarian-Austrian border without undue restrictions, whether for the purpose of working or using services on the other side of the border. The purpose of this measure is to maintain the operation of the services sector in regions near the border, he said.

He added that with a government decision adopted on Friday, it is now also possible for business travellers to enter Hungary without restrictions even from more remote areas and even in connection with non-related undertakings. The first PCR test performed abroad will also be accepted in Hungary, he said.

Mr Nagy also said mayors from the region asked the government to look into the possibility of allowing those living and working in areas beyond the zone of thirty kilometres to enter the territory of Hungary in possession of work permits.

Another request was to open the old Rajka border crossing station on the express road 150, thereby facilitating the daily travel of commuters between Hungary and Slovakia. Some four thousand Slovak nationals live in Rajka who travel to their workplaces daily.

A further request was to operate the Hegyeshalom minor border crossing point on the express road 1 around the clock instead of between 5.00 a.m. and 11.00 p.m. at present. Additionally, the Albertkázmérpuszta agricultural border crossing point should also be opened for 2 hours a day to facilitate the work of harvesters.

The Minister of Agriculture said from Saturday the Vámosszabadi border crossing point will be open around the clock.

(Ministry of Interior/Ministry of Agriculture/MTI)