The unimpeded movement of goods and citizens returning home must be secured within the European Union during the crisis caused by novel coronavirus, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said after talks with his Bulgarian counterpart in Sofia. Szijjártó told a joint press conference with Ekaterina Zakharieva that they agreed all governments had a dual responsibility during the crisis to protect the lives and health of citizens and to secure continual supplies so as to sustain the functioning of the economy. He said this required all countries guaranteeing unrestricted freight transport. Greater European coordination and assistance is needed in this respect, he added. Transit routes must be secured at community level, just as Budapest and Sofia have already secured the route for goods and retuning European citizens, he added. Bulgarians returning home can enter Hungary between 9pm and 5am as long as Romania also lets them cross its territory, Szijjártó said.
Meanwhile, on the subject of bilateral ties, Szijjártó said: “Instead of impersonal videoconferences, a personal meeting clearly demonstrates the importance both Hungary and Bulgaria attach to bilateral relations.” The two countries have similar positions as regards challenges facing the EU, he added. The issue of migration must be given even more emphasis during the time of the epidemic because illegal mass waves of migrants “pose a threat not only in terms of security and culture but also significant health risks,” he said. “Our common position is that the external borders of the European Union must be protected.” Commenting on the building of the border fence, he said: “We used to be taken to task in Europe for something which has since proved to have been a good policy.” He also said that an agreement with Turkey was necessary on holding back migrants because the pressure of migration on Europe would continue if a sustainable solution was not found.